MY FATHER’S HOUSE HAS MANY ROOMS by Todd Clay Stuart

1.

The master bedroom is on the first floor. It has five walls: four of plaster and one of fire that engulfs our mother. We have been told this violates National Fire Protection Association codes and standards. One of the convenient features of my father’s house is that the other bedrooms are on the second floor. I am a sandbox, my sister a pool of water. Soon it will be time to pour ourselves down the stairs to extinguish our mother’s grief and begin a new day.

2.

My father’s house has a music room on the third floor. There is no piano, no harp, no cello in sight. It contains no apparent means of producing a melody or musical note of any kind. Yet since my father passed, it is haunted by the loveliest ghostsong. Mother hears it as wind, but I hear my father’s favorite song. If we try to enter the room, the third floor disappears.

3.

The fourth floor of my father’s house has a room filled with magic carpets. The entire room floats. If you don’t believe this is possible, believe Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan. He’s the Harvard mathematician who determined flying carpets are not beyond the realm of possibility. Based on his calculation of the aerodynamics of a rippling sheet, a carpet could not only hover off the ground, but be driven forward too, like those in The Arabian Nights.

4.

My father’s house has no roof, granting full ingress and egress to the wind. On moonlit nights, the four of us would sail across the bejeweled night on my father’s prize carpet—earth, wind, fire, and water—edged together for eternity, my father exultantly singing his favorite song.

5.

My favorite room in my father’s house is not a room at all. It is a balcony that appears only at night. When we step out onto it, our noses press against Ursa Major. When we lean into it, we smell the stars. My sister says they smell like gunpowder. My mother says they smell like the wind.


Todd Clay Stuart is an emerging Midwestern writer and poet. He studied creative writing at the University of Iowa. His recent work appears in New World Writing, Bending Genres, Cleaver Magazine, Milk Candy Review, Janus Literary, and Emerge Literary Journal. He lives with his wife, daughter, and two loyal but increasingly untrustworthy pets. Find him on Twitter @toddclaystuart and at https://toddclaystuart.com/.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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