It started with butterflies. Wings splayed and restrained. Proboscis coiled, but dormant. The softness, hardness, softness as the pins popped the abdomen, the innards, the felt. The crisp crack of Styrofoam. The tints of them, powdered on his every finger, cleansed with warm water and Ivory soap. “Good boy,” Dad would whisper, prodding, prodding under his nails until everything washed away.

[This flash fiction piece appears in our Winter 2014 issue.]

Tina Tocco’s flash fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Passages North, Potomac Review, Roanoke Review, Italian Americana, Clockhouse Review, Border Crossing, Fiction Fix, and other publications. She was a finalist in CALYX’s 2013 Flash Fiction Contest. In 2008, her poetry was anthologized in Wild Dreams: The Best of Italian Americana (Fordham University Press). Tina earned her MFA in creative writing from Manhattanville College, where she was editor-in-chief of Inkwell.