Shannon Cawley

[FICTION] “pancake” detox


i made her pancakes this morning.

she loves pancakes almost as much as she loves the noise of her son’s incessant screams being lessened, being muffled, being silenced by the funnies

she loves how the newspaper stains her flushed skin, how the edges cut lines of symmetry into her bible paper skin, how the ink of death and letters to the editor stain black tar on her fingers

she remembers when she was her baby’s age and she remembers iridescent crystal sunlight making kaleidoscope canopies through the windows, she remembers how she felt like the sun was a lazy river and she an intertube, she remembers how she felt as if her grandfather was the person in it

i made her three pancakes this morning, and she ate all of them.



i swung with her on the front porch this morning.

she used to swing at the park when she was her son’s age and as he sits in the small blue hole sleeping she wonders how she got here, she wonders how this became more important, she wonders how adoration turned to anguish

she remembers how the swing felt under her brown legs, how the wood used to irritate her legs through the thin cotton material she always wore in the summer days, how she used to put them neatly in the hamper when they were dirty like her mother always told her to

she wonders what happened to the woman she passed yesterday when she went to go buy pancake mix and how her sullen eyes are doing today, she wonders if the marks on the woman’s arms hurt as much as they hurt on her own, she wonders if the woman ever questioned why she was in this position, she wonders if the woman has a child, she wonders if the woman is still alive, she concludes that if she is not alive, then at least she is existing

she went back inside; i made her more pancakes. she ate two this time.



i went with her to the train station this morning.

she drove fast and the baby sat in the back drooling with his toys, drooling at the cars passing by and the early morning sun warming his skin and killing it at the same time, she drove and i watched

i asked her where we were going, and she smiled the whole time. she smiled more than i had ever seen her smile, more than she smiled when she ate pancakes, more than she smiled when she swung on the porch swing, more than any amount of intricate vices could bring to her tactile pores

she parked in the parking lot of the station, and she unhooked the baby from the back. she unhooked the baby and waited for me to unbuckle my seatbelt, and i waited for her to tell me where we were going and why we were here. she smiled again, even louder this time, and silently led me to the ticket desk to about three-fourths of a mile down the long lot. it was to the left of us, with an old woman who looked as if she might be hiding one of those green oxygen tanks where no one could see it, so no one could ask questions

she started speaking to this dying woman, and i watched in a small way and waited for the time to come when i would know what was going on. the baby cried, the baby moaned its moans and killed the sun in the sky for once and for all and eventually everything came to a close, everything stopped, every sound was lessened with an invisible blow

the woman silently handed her a ticket, not uttering a word, not making any faces, not doing anything. she waved her hand, i followed

the platform we went to was dark, and it was dim and i was scared for the first time in my carbon life, i waited for her to explain and she never did. she handed me the ticket, and she walked away with the baby in her arms, and it was the calmest walk i had ever witnessed, i had ever seen

the ticket was blank


Shannon Cawley is a18-year-oldld part time writer and full time high school student based in Weirton, West Virginia. She has been writing since she was little, and it was always the thing she was best at. She has recently been published in apt magazine and in Maudlin House. Her social media handles @indishanajones are on Twitter as well as Instagram.

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