Gone Lawn
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Gone Lawn 53
wolf moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Within Grasp, by Jacelyn Yap

new works

Timothy Boudreau


There must be falcons, ospreys, prehistoric jagged-taloned sea raptors native only to this corner of southern Maine. It can’t be just seagulls—the box of Triscuits and bag of Ruffles torn out of a beach bag, strewn across the sand; crab carcass remnants, shattered shell, scattered legs, soft deliciousness of the poor creature’s life ripped apart, consumed, flown away with. Hot sand, salty sea spray, sunburnt ears and nose, taste of lemon gummies glued in his teeth, citrus at the back of his throat: Chris feels everything closing in as he dashes across the sand toward the motel with his flipflops in his hand, screaming internally, Help me help me help me.


Melissa’s husband slides the glass door open, drops his flipflops on the floor, scatters sand as he collapses into the corner chair. “The birds, the sun—it’s too much.” Nose and forehead burnt, eyes wide, like he got into the edibles before his morning beach walk. “Fucking huge. Apex predators.”
“Calm down, Chris.” The kids are in the corner, tugging themselves into their water shoes. “I’ll go get us some ice.”
“Isn’t it early for that?” Their daughter Kendra, twelve but sounding seventeen, looking at them over the top of her glasses, helping her little brother Tyler with his shoes.
“It’s just for iced water,” Melissa says, “don’t worry, K,” but she’s already out the door with the bucket, thinking of the tall guy in Room 313—thick dark hair, curly treasure trail from his navel to his swim trunks, promise of tequila bottles waiting in his room—who told her he’d be at the pool at noon, don’t be late.


“It’s SO sunny,” Tyler says.
The far end of the beach is strewn with seashell bits, shards of driftwood, crushed crab shells. “Don’t take your water shoes off, Ty,” Kendra tells him. “You might hurt your foot.”
“But I want to go back to the room.” He shields his eyes. “It’s toooo hot.”
Kendra unfolds their towels, spreads them on the sand, weighs them down with rocks at the corners. “We don’t want to be there yet. We’ll just swim awhile and cool off.”
“Do you think Dad’s feeling better?”
“Sure, he just needs to rest. Mom will probably keep checking on him.”
“But this sea is scary.”
“Don’t worry, Ty. I’ll hold your hand.” It’s nearly high tide, the waves are crashing, there’s red seaweed everywhere. Seagulls scream, swirl closer. Tyler licks his lip, looks up with wide eyes; Kendra’s sigh is weary, like her mother’s. “I won’t let you go.”

Timothy Boudreau lives and works in northern New Hampshire. His collection Saturday Night and Other Short Stories is available through Hobblebush Books. His recent work has been nominated for Best of the Net, Best Microfiction and a Pushcart Prize. Find him on Twitter at @tcboudreau or at timothyboudreau.com