What’s the Opposite of Thief?

By Kristin Kozlowski

It starts with him stealing things off my nightstand: one earring, a yellow feather, a collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay poems. I never see him — they say it’s rare to actually see a brownie gnome — but I hear him stumble around, bumping into the bed while I try to sleep, or just try to shut out the world. A goat milk candle. A felt-tipped pen. I search the house, but never find my loot. The stealing doesn’t bother me much, but then he starts leaving things on my nightstand instead of taking them. Someone’s broken eyeglasses. A rotting apple. Dirty underwear that isn’t mine. I stop wondering where my things have gone when these new things appear. Half a bologna sandwich. A dead mouse. A severed foot. How can I think about what’s missing in the face of what’s piling on?

Kristin Kozlowski lives and works in the Midwest, US. Some of her work is available online at Lost Balloonmatchbook, Longleaf Review, Pidgeonholes, Cease Cows, and others. Her piece, “Salty Owl”, will be included in The Best Small Fictions Anthology 2021. In 2019, she was awarded Editor’s Choice from Arkana for her CNF piece, “A Pocket of Air”. If you tweet: @kriskozlowski.