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  • BENJAMIN KLAS

Glass



It was just me, the mummy, and you. I pressed against the glass, trying to show you what a brave son you had. I felt a thrill of terror, but I kept staring at the face. Lids draped hollows that once held eyes as bright as those painted on her sarcophagus. Her lips pulled back to reveal long, brown teeth.

But when I turned, I saw you hadn’t noticed me. Your fingertips pressed lightly to the pearls around your neck as you leaned forward to read the description.

“She had no name,” you said. The brass plaque held the name of the man who found her instead. Photos showed him digging back the blanket of sand, exposing the sarcophagus.

I turned back to the mummy. She clutched her twisted arms firmly over her heart, the one organ left in her chest. The organ that held her Ka – her soul. The rest of her viscera sat in sealed canopic jars.

When I faced you again, you stood in front of a reconstruction of her face. Scientists had sculpted flesh onto the hollow model of her skull, reconfiguring her beauty. You stared into her glass eyes.

I wanted to tell you that there was something similar between you, something in the set of your mouth, in your solid forward gaze. Even how the dark bands under her eyes mirrored the bruises of your exhaustion.

All my 7-year-old self could articulate was, “You two match.”

You arched your eyebrows, finally looking at me. A laugh hung on the corner of your mouth. “I think it’s time we headed to lunch, dear.” You took my hand.

We collected our coats and traded the dream light of the museum for the sharp November wind. You wrapped a long scarf around your neck like a bandage. We walked two blocks down 4th Street to the corner cafe for my promised grilled cheese and sugar cookie.

Outside the cafe, a woman pulled an invisible rope. Her face was white with a cherry mouth and black lines around her eyes, like the mummy, but different. She was a mime. When she saw us, she dropped the rope and picked an unseen flower. She inhaled over it, as if it were deep and fragrant. When she handed it to me, I dropped it.

You smiled politely, but guided me past her into the warm cafe. Before entering, you turned back, watching the woman strain her full weight against a glass wall only the two of you could see.



BENJAMIN KLAS spends his days writing, block printing, cooking, painting, parenting, and chasing chickens – although not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in The Cape Rock, Polychrome Ink, Impossible Archetype, and Saint Paul Almanac. His novel Second Dad Summer and its sequel Everything Together have won several literary awards.





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