By Andrea Marcusa

September 16, 2019


On the plane home, out the window, all I see is empty sky. As a girl, when talk of dying arose, I always gazed up to where I am now, drifting past the tops of snowy clouds.

But you are nowhere. Not off the smooth, metallic wing to the West or inside the engine din of our cabin or high above our plane in the thinning blue. Instead, this whole wide-open sky has pressed itself into a hard, tight spot in my chest. Next to my heart. The one I got from you, Dad – stormy, huge, breaking.

When I understood you were dying, I remembered the sound of your feet on the stairs each morning when I was a school girl. You dashing down them, spare change jingling in your pockets. You already wide awake for your long commute while I dozed in bed. Next came the side door banging, then footfalls on the back porch, the garage door rolling up, the car door slamming, the engine igniting and then wheels rolling on gravel as you backed down the driveway and turned into the road.

I always listened for your car’s engine, how you shifted gears from first, second, to third and then the metallic cry of brakes at the stop sign, a sound I could recognize from two blocks away. Those mornings, I used to lie in bed listening as you sped into your day, the hum growing fainter and fainter, until fading to nothing.


Andrea Marcusa’s memoir, fiction and poetry have appeared in a range of journals including River Styx, The Baltimore Review, Citron Review, New South, News Verse and others. She’s received recognition in a variety of writing competitions, including Glimmer Train, Third Coast, New Letters and Narrative. She currently spends her time writing literary works and articles about education, technology and medicine, and serves on the faculty of The Writers Studio in New York City. Learn more at: or follow her at: @d_marcusa

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