Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
about this
how to submit
current issue

Gone Lawn 55
strawberry moon, 2024

Featured artwork, Lost for Words, by Andrea Damic

new works

Raima Larter

We Have Always Lived on the Earth

Even when the oceans started to rise and the polar ice caps melted, we stayed. Although we’ve lived in other places, we are now in the attic of the old Murphy house. We are happy here among the broken-down furniture, sagging cardboard boxes, and piles of dusty curtains and bedspreads.

We live in Mrs. Murphy’s discarded cupboard. It sat in the attic for years before we found it. Although the Murphys are gone, we’re still here, tucked behind a small wooden door with a broken latch, our beds and tiny teacups and a kitchen table just our size all safely contained in the old cupboard. All of us live here: our elders, our children, even our infants.

When the Murphys were still here, we found the cupboard. They fled to the mountains when the seas rose and covered the town below, but we remained.

We miss the Murphys, their bickering and loud TV, and Mr. Murphy’s drunken singing that floated up to the attic window from the front porch every Saturday night. Some of us have kept an eye on that front porch, even after the water started to creep across it, wondering if he might come back.

The porch is now covered in a half foot of salt water that is rising up the sides of the house, which itself sits atop a hill in the Murphy's former hometown.

We often wonder what became of the Murphys. One of us wonders most about the children, while another of us wonders if Mr. Murphy finally drank himself to death. We, all of us, understood his desire to drown out awareness of the approaching apocalypse with another shot of whiskey, but now we wonder which got him first: the drink or the rising tide?

They say insects will inherit the Earth, but we would like to point out that we mice will be here, too, especially mice like us who know how to swim and can build little boats with sails and oars for rowing. In fact, we are building them now. We know it is just a matter of time before the water reaches the attic.

Even if we must sail across the ever-widening sea, becoming sea creatures, we will still live here. After all, we have always lived on the Earth.

Raima Larter's short fiction has been published by Gargoyle, Cleaver, BULL and other places. She also serves as the Nonfiction Editor for Utopia Science Fiction Magazine and has published three novels, one nonfiction book and two short story collections. Read more about her work on her website, raimalarter.com.