Aftermath by Jad Josey

The scorpion emerged from shadow, big enough to matter
and small enough to matter, the world

a dram conspiring between floated spirits,
the grain alcohol, the smoky absinthe,

the way my mother is eleven-hundred miles close and
yours is eight miles and nearly vanished,

an apparition you didn’t intend to summon, though
you might have wished her gone one sticky-hot September evening,

never divining the prophet you’d become, never mind how small her
hand felt in your palm, her heart no longer here, the goodbye gone.

The scorpion scuttled onto my foot, and I waited. Waited
for the pricking poison, waited for what comes before the aftermath.

Waited for something small to bring me to my knees again.


Jad Josey’s work has appeared in CutBank, Glimmer Train, Ninth Letter, Passages North, and elsewhere. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Small Fictions and his story, “It Finally Happened,” was selected for inclusion in the Best Microfiction 2021 anthology. Read more at, or reach out on Twitter @jadjosey.

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