For Nearly a Year, You Forgot To Feed Me

Candice May

But I knew how to pour cereal and milk, how to open a can of frozen orange concentrate and add water, how to stir things, to eat with my hands, to avoid fork and spoon clinking against dish, how to not wake you; I knew how to bite into invisible apples at school, to mimic peeling a banana, like a mime, how to chomp down on air flesh, throwing the nothing peel behind my back, classmates laughing, and how, when everyone filed out to assembly, I knew how to linger beside that skinny bin full of castaways: sandwich crusts, a hard-boiled egg, plastic wrap with crumbs, a raisin or chocolate chip, one or two bites until I got home to scavenge the pantry for crackers, handfuls of oats; and when teacher slipped an envelope into my backpack, whispered, “A gift certificate to Denny’s, my treat,” I knew how to roll the word ‘treat’ on my tongue, how to taste it: cookies and cake, a vanilla milkshake; and when I found the baby mouse on the porch, I knew she was hungry, that she’d lost her mother; I knew she wanted pancakes and waffles and sausages, that she would take food from my fingers, because she was my baby, because I loved her, because she was hungry, and I knew one day you’d come into the kitchen, feeling better, and the house, full of mice, and me, feeding them all.


Candice May is a writer from British Columbia, Canada. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best Small Fictions 2022, Pleiades, December, PRISM International, SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, SundogLit, and elsewhere, and has twice been nominated for Best of the Net. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.