Utahna Faith lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, after time in Indiana, Los Angeles, and the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean. Her writing appears in Exquisite Corpse, Clean Sheets, French Quarter Fiction and elsewhere. She is flash fiction editor and poetry editor for 3:AM Magazine, and is editor of Wild Strawberries: a journal of flash fiction and prose poetry.
Ninth Ward Sundown
Mango colored light slants across the river, and fog horns moan low from passing barges. A breeze stirs the hot air. The new neighbors are laughing on their porch steps, gathering their kids in after the ice cream truck passes by. Barbeque smoke lifts over the fence from their backyard. Two houses away Danya trims the grass on her front lawn, ducking under low palm fronds. The dachshunds bark out my gate as a stray chow lopes by. Tanika waves as she approaches from the bus-stop in her nursing uniform. She checks her mailbox and unlocks her front door. Across the street, Ann and Brian finish their tall glasses of lemonade and slip inside, Brian's hand hovering over Ann's pregnant belly. Down the block the crackheads spill off the steps of a dilapidated house they have taken over. They bring out a boom box, but one of their toddlers knocks it off the step immediately. His mama slaps him on the back of the head. He sits down hard in the dirt and screams. I swat a mosquito, snap a rose off the bush, and herd the dachshunds toward the backyard. The jasmine has opened. Inside I pull the curtains and turn on the lights.