Orphan An Orphan

Even without a past the future will keep on snapping at your heels. If there were a cause, you’d be the reason, so we must insist that you not ask for what has not been offered. Keep on watching movies that watch you watching them speak all your lines with voices that sound all too familiar, except in a language we warned you to forget.


A burned-out house is a welcome mat with matching drapes and a sunroom where rain clouds keep each other company. Repentance is a broom closet, without the broom, but stuffed with unending chores with names like “Steven” and “Stephanie,” “Robbie” and “Robin,” and “Aaron” and “Josephine.”


In the backyard you’re forever mowing, an explosion lights up the sky and a terrifying whistle splinters into a hundred all at once, and then you see a plume of smoke far in the distance, over the horizon.


Against our wishes, you run toward the blackened cloud, your grass-stained gloves flopping off, and there is no one but you when you arrive. Burning fuel shoots right up your nose. Armless torsos wriggle away from the crumpled pile of metal and crawl under rocks, so surprised they were to see your face after all these years.


You instinctually look for the tail wing to identify the aircraft, but it’s missing. Apparently, neither of the wings want to show themselves in the wreckage. What is apparent remains hidden. A line of beetles follows you back to the yard, but you pay them no mind. They chat about the names they’ll give their children and whether they could ever love them the way they ought to be loved.

Jackie Rhodes

Copyright © 2019, Otis Nebula Press. All rights reserved.


Kevin Minh Allen was born Nguyễn Đức Minh on December 5, 1973 near Sài Gòn, Vietnam to a Vietnamese mother and American father who remain unknown to him. He was adopted by a couple from Rochester, NY and grew up in Webster, NY with his two younger sisters. He spent 17 years in Seattle, WA pursuing a life less ordinary and then returned to his hometown in September 2017 to pursue something more extraordinary. Kevin has had his work published in numerous print and online publications, the most recent being WHYY News, The Deadly Writers Patrol and LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Science Fiction. His first collection of poetry, “My Proud Sacrifice,” was published in July 2014 by Goldfish Press. His second collection of poetry, “Go In Clean, Come Out Dirty,” was published in December 2017 by Rabbit Fool Press. His first book of essays, “Sleep Is No Comfort,” was published by CQT Media & Publishing in March 2019.