Noemi Scheiring-Olah June 2023 Third Prize

To All the Copies of Us

by Noemi Scheiring Olah

To the soccer-patterned rubber ball, easy to kick, making us laugh every time it hits our shins with a burp sound, like Daddy, every time he gets home from work, all paint spots and sour smiles.

To the video player branded “videó player”, which instantly eats the rented Lion King tape, making the words slur like Daddy’s, slurping The tapessshit, and Merry Chrisssmasss, and Daddy lovesssya.

To the white sneakers with four black lines and a thin sole, which makes every pebble feel like we’re walking on broken glass, and when the kids at school finger-point and jeer Fakedidas, we borrow (if you’re Daddy), or steal (if you’re the head teacher) White-Outs, and smear white slime all over the fourth black line until it disappears.

To the fading library books Daddy brought home every weekend so us kids See the world, and Know how to find and lose beauty, like he found and lost Mommy, and like we now spill Bud Light over an unreturned Moby Dick, and watch the pages darken, and fold, and float away, like Daddy darkened, and folded, and floated away two weeks ago, frowning with twin brows that refused to let go.

To the hoarse TV in the kitchen coughing up successful flat people droning on and on about filling big shoes of successful flat fathers, who flash and mirror in the empty bottles that clink-clank across the room as we collect and throw them in trash cans, smashing, and crashing, and shattering; tearing to break free from all the copies of us.

About the Author

Noémi Scheiring-Oláh grew up in a small flat at the edge of a Hungarian town. She’s now a nomad in a small world. Her writing has appeared/forthcoming in Passages North, SmokeLong Quarterly, The Molotov Cocktail, New Flash Fiction Review, Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, Maudlin House, Ellipsis Zine, Janus Literary, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for Best Small Fictions and The Pushcart Prize. Noémi is a fan of cats and underdogs. She’s also a Writers’ HQ member. Tweets: @itssonoemi Virtual home:

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