Donald Carreira Ching was born and raised in Kahalu‘u. He received his BA in English from
the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and is pursuing his MA in Creative Writing. He recently
completed his first novel, Between Sky and Sea, excerpted in Hawai‘i Review and Bamboo Ridge
(Issue #98). His work has also appeared in The Star-Advertiser, Cirque, Rio Grande Review, and Honolulu Weekly as the runner-up in the 2012 fiction contest. Forthcoming in Chaminade Literary Review, Bamboo Ridge #100.
THIS IS A YEAR OF THE DRAGON CONTEST ENTRY
This is a Year of the Dragon Contest entry.
My father is a streetlamp, a single bulb hovering in the darkness outside. Flashlight between his lips, he crouches and searches the still pond, skimming the surface with the fishnet, interrogating lily with the sharp end of a fishtail. Termites flutter, crickets sound, through slanted jalousies I watch, he waits.
He keeps a plastic pretzel container near the rocks, the top undone, the insides streaked with wet. This is the sixth time this week that he has taken it out from inside the storage, and talks to my mother of filling everything with dirt. How easy it will be not to worry about the dogs. Every morning I pinch orange and blue flakes, watch them dissolve. Maybe she can start a vegetable garden where they fall.
The net dives and he drops the light. There is darkness, the familiar shade of his back. I press my face closer. He stands, fishtail buried, and I listen to the rocks beneath his slippers, the hollow balancing of the plastic, the slap of flesh hitting the bottom, and the twisting of the top.
I do not know what happens next, but I always wait near the screen door to see. The garage light is on and my father is a shadow stretched across the driveway. The radio sometimes buzzes on, static waves and rolling melodies I used to hear my mother hum, but not tonight. Waiting near the door, the only thing I hear is the constant throbbing of the sides, the straining of the container, my father holding it down, keeping it in place.