Karina Berg Johansson
Five days later you still search, high and low
but there is not a trace to be found. Why
you wonder. There should be something.
Like in the movies where there would be
a piece of cloth ripped, stuck to a nail
waving at you like a foreign nation’s flag
A witness stepping forward to say: “A man.
Dragging. Then a car speeding away.”
Nothing is not what you expected
Five days later the tears have faded,
dried-up riverbeds lining your face
Your friends have stopped coming around
to keep the search going, or simply ask
if there’s been any progress
You wander around the empty house,
now lonely as well as stunned
into silence by the unimaginable
On the sixth day there’s a faint sound
scratching at the edge of your mind
You don’t dare to hope, keep your head
bowed low as you approach the door
A trembling hand reaching for the lock
and then the door swings open
There he is, waiting, as if he hasn’t
been gone for five days, as if he
merely went out for a morning stroll
and now he’s back, hungry and cold
You walk ahead of him into the kitchen,
the two of you purring, as you reach
for the food, pour it into his bowl
Karina Berg Johansson is from Sweden. She shares house and life with husband, four teenagers, an Ewok dog, and a claustrophobic cat. When not writing short stories, she is at work with a novel length manuscript. Her stories appear in Dark Reveries and the upcoming issue of Crimson Highway.
Usually I find the germs to my stories while out walking the dog. A first line appears, I shape it, revise it, find my right words, and hurry home to type them down before they vanish. Then I build from there, always equally surprised to see where this particular story wants to take me.