Lips, Mouth, Heart by Len Kuntz

Instead of piano, my daughter takes lip-reading lessons. She says that way she’ll know what the other kids are whispering about her.

“That’s stupid,” her brother says. “They can just cover up their mouth with a book or their hand or something.”

My daughter screams, overturns her dinner plate, and runs off.

“It’s okay,” my son says, “she never eats anyway.”


A month later, my daughter looks happy, determined. She’s seated in a chair on the opposite side of the room with me on the couch.

“Just say what you’d normally say, except don’t speak out loud.”

I cock my head, imitating, Sherman Alexie, our often befuddled Labrador.

“Just mouth the words.”

I mouth, This is really weird.

She tells me to do it slower.

I mouth, I wish your mother was here.

She crinkles her head and tells me she’s not anorexic, even though that’s not what I said, even though we both know that’s a lie.

I mouth, Your mother fell in love with my best friend, but at least she left me with you two.

My daughter says, “Not so many words at once.”

I mouth, It’s not even funny how much I love you.

She says, “I know just the trick,” goes to the kitchen and returns with Pepto-Bismol. “This should help your stomach ache.”

I mouth, It’s not my stomach, it’s my heart.

She breaks out laughing, busting a gut. She says, “Sometimes you really crack me up.”


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Filed under Len Kuntz

14 responses to “Lips, Mouth, Heart by Len Kuntz

  1. I enjoyed this! I liked how you gave layers/depth to the plot. Thank you

  2. Exactly what Stella said–there is just so much going on here with all the different conflicts and how each character has adjusted to the very event that has left them in this moment. Beautifully done, Len.

  3. Very sad, and very well written.

  4. This is delightful. Bravo.

  5. Kim Hutchinson

    Their relationship is so touching and lovely. A beautiful, telling flash.

  6. Len

    Thank you all so much. It’s so nice to have such a supportive community of writers. I appreciate it.

  7. I really need to read everyone’s stories! This one is amazing. Almost anyone can tell a story in 50,ooo words, but to tell one so rich in less than 250 is a huge accomplishment.

  8. This was so sweet … but to have the daughter realise what he was really saying would not have been so great, so yes, you did a wonderful job here.

  9. Clever take on the theme. I really enjoyed this, particularly how you wove in the ‘less funny’ underpinnings.

  10. Oh my goodness, how bittersweet. Wonderfully told.

  11. Len

    Thanks again for the kind comments. They mean so much.

  12. Funny and sad all at once. Really love the relationship between these two. Peace…

  13. Pingback: Week #27 – lost in translation « 52|250 A Year of Flash

  14. This was heartbreaking. So amazingly economical without sacrificing breadth–we get the whole back story. Nicely done.


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