Picking Kernels by

When the theatre reopens, I go to a matinee.

I try to savour popcorn; the tub’s more unwieldy than I remember. On top of that, the seat to my right is empty.

My older sister Nancy and I once laughed in unison. We fought over popcorn, our hands diving into buttered seas.

We yelled movie lines, smiled, and whispered our nicknames for each other. Nicky, Nan, Nanny, Saint Nick.

People trickle in, rattling off virus statistics like baseball scores.

I get up to leave and knock over the popcorn.

Leaning down, I try to pick up a kernel. It slips.

Another kernel falls.

I can’t pick things up again.


Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.



“Popcorn Crime Scene” by Marcus Schwan is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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