“Mother Death” by Daniel Chacón

Davis Portfolio 18
Tree House, Emily A. Davis

A few minutes before she would die on the hospice bed in the middle of her living room—the family surrounding her and weeping—all her son could think about was getting into the car and driving, no destination, anywhere, through the city, into the mountain—anywhere away from his thoughts and feelings.

Then it happened. She opened her eyes and gasped twice, looking around at all her grown children.

They cried,

I love you, mom!

And she was dead.

They wailed and screamed, but he needed to grieve his own way.

He went into the kitchen to look for the car keys, found them on the hook where she usually hung them, and put them in his pocket.

What do you think you’re doing? his sister said, standing in the kitchen doorway. I’m going for a drive, he said. I need to get away.

What makes you think you’re the one that’s going to get mom’s car? she said.

No, I just want to go for a drive.

She just died, Stephen! Already you want to start claiming her things? That’s a shitty thing to do.

Over his sister’s shoulders, two shadows appeared, his brothers, and the short one asked, Why should you get the car?

I just want to go for…

If anyone should get the car it should be me, he said. I cleaned it, changed her oil, and I drove her everywhere towards the end. Where were you? Off writing your memoir?

That’s really fucked up, Stevie, said his other brother, the gentle giant, shaking his head as if he couldn’t believe it.

You guys don’t understand!

Oh, we understand! said his sister, arms crossed, nodding her head.

ChaconphotoDaniel Chacón received his MFA in fiction is from the University of Oregon. He is author of seven books of fiction, including Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall (2019); Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops; The Cholo Tree; and Unending Rooms. He has won the Southwest Book Award, the American Book Award, the Pen-Oakland Prize for Fiction, and the Hudson Prize. He founded and hosts the literary radio show Words on a Wire and is currently chair of the Bilingual Creative Writing Department at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Emily Professional Artist PortraitEmily A. Davis is a photographer and writer residing in Chicago. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she is a recipient of the SAIC Founders Scholarship. Davis’ work focuses on architecture and abstraction. She utilizes experimental techniques that distort and reframe the world around her. Emily has exhibited work in the Starline Gallery in Harvard, Illinois, and published poetry nationally.