Ethel by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


They would park by the curb
like family would when you were expecting
more family.

Outside our house along Tower Drive.

My aunt Ethel getting out of the car first
grabbing my cheeks in her hands and shaking them
before smearing my face in lipstick
and saying hunka hunka burning love.

She loved Elvis and was the kindest woman
I have ever known.

Then my Uncle Vic would get out of the car.
All 6ft7 of him.

Jesus Ethel, don’t swallow the kid.

Then he would get the presents from the trunk.
Us kids running inside.

All smeared in bright red lipstick.
Licking our thumbs before trying to rub
it off.

And my aunt Ethel was so happy to see everyone.
Even my parents seemed happier around her.
She did that to everyone.

The world is less a place
without her.


© 2019 Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Follow Ryan


Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, BlogNostics, In Between Hangovers, The Rye Whiskey Review and The Oklahoma Review.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.