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Volume 14 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2022

Holly Pelesky

The Big Screen

On special nights, dad would bring the projector from his school home and we would each claim a step off the stairs. There on scratchy carpet, in a polyester nightgown, I would hold my bowl of popcorn mom made on the stove and dad would start the reel. Polar bears or penguins would move about on the wall beneath the voice of a narrator. Once in a while, we got lucky with that one that had people in it and it almost felt like TV.

I sensed it wasn’t real life: outside that home was all the knowledge I wanted to taste on my tongue, swallow whole. I wanted the world to inform me, make me into the kind of person who knew how to change things.

My sister sat beneath me, my brother above and we held our chatter, our breaths. The butter stuck to our fingers and we didn’t know much then but the beam of light coming from the top of the stairs illuminated dust as it fell around us like promise. Just yesterday those skin cells belonged to us and already we had outgrown them, already I was a different version of the child that came before and soon there would be another after this; after, another.

Holly Pelesky writes essays, fiction and poetry. She holds an MFA from the University of Nebraska. Her prose can be found in The Normal School, The Nasiona and Jellyfish Review. She recently released her first collection of poems, Quiver. She works, coaches slam poetry, and raises boys in Omaha.