Josh Denslow

I was sitting on my back porch staring at the near-perfect ring stained into the wood, one of the only signs that Tammy had once been here with her fifty-pound southwestern-themed pot that never contained a live plant and seemed to exist solely to catch rainwater, when Bosco bounded up from the fence carrying a dead leprechaun in his mouth.

"Drop it!" I yelled, and Bosco did as he was told, somehow retaining all the commands we learned in a dog training course five years ago.

The leprechaun hit the ground with a thud, and Bosco ran off to continue exploring, his white fur puffing out like a dandelion refusing to release its seeds.

I knelt next to the little man who was no taller than the distance from my wrist to my elbow. As one would imagine, he was dressed in a dark green suit, and rather miraculously, he still had a black hat atop his wispy red hair. His face was ruddy, as if he had a distillery somewhere in my backyard, with a tiny curved nose and slightly upturned mouth that never allowed him to stop smiling, even in death.

I remembered when Tammy had moved in with me from across town. It had been raining all morning, but when we'd finally finished getting everything out of her apartment, including that southwestern-themed pot, the rain had stopped and we'd seen a rainbow stretching across the sky.

"It looks like it ends in our yard," she'd said, even though we couldn't see my house from there with the freeway and the mall and the new housing developments in the way. But I'd liked the way she'd said our yard.

Like most sane people, I'd never believed in leprechauns. But there he lay, proof that maybe Tammy had been right, right about everything, and I gingerly plucked him from the grass. He had more heft than I expected from a magical creature, as if my inability to believe in him would cause him to weigh nothing at all. I placed him delicately next to the ring stain on the porch and returned to my chair. It had been a few weeks, but I still couldn't believe Tammy had left this one cushioned deck chair for me. Like she knew exactly where I'd need to be after she was gone.

I looked down at the leprechaun, everything about him impeccable. Not a smudge of dirt. Not a hair out of place. No sign of having spent any time in Bosco's mouth. I wondered what Tammy would see if she were here. Perhaps she'd notice something out of place, some sign of what had brought about his untimely demise. But from my point of view, it seemed impossible that the leprechaun could actually be dead.

In the two years we'd lived together, I'd never once convinced Tammy to sit outside with me. "I have to keep moving or I might never move again," she'd said in explanation. I hadn't understood it at the time, but now I pictured her fluttering around somewhere as far away from my chair and the ring-stained porch as she could get, forever outside my orbit.

Bosco barked gleefully from the fence, calling me over to him. Hurry up! Hurry up! he was saying. I rose from the chair and shuffled out into the yard, going past the grill for the first time in over a year. Maybe there was a pot of gold out there.

But I doubted it.

Josh Denslow lives in Texas and plays drums in the band Borrisokane. He's had work in Third Coast, Black Clock, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and others.

Read his postcard.

See more of his work in the archive.

Detail of art on main page courtesy of Krocky Meshkin.

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