by Maxine Kollar

Ophelia stepped over cracks her whole life. She doesn’t remember hearing the rhyme, just knowing it.  Quick tippy toes then large leaps, whatever it took.

Paved Over: landslide headscarp

Hitchster via Creative Commons

She questioned herself, others questioned her. Why the stutter step? Why the leap? Saving Momma was all she could answer.

Then one day there was no Momma to save. The thing had eaten her alive. Her screams were still fresh in Ophelia’s mind. No gentle walk. Why didn’t she save Momma from it?

Because she was afraid. Where did the cracks lead? She sat on the sidewalk outside her house. The house. Any house. Empty now.

There was a large crack by the sycamore tree. Its roots pushed up the sidewalk at an angle that said “my roots uproot and your cement cannot see what is meant.” The tree laughed at its own joke. And pushed.

Ophelia bounded onto the crack and went far down. She saw Momma in the clutches of the bad thing and she hid.

Momma’s back was broken. Ophelia strode out into the open and demanded her Momma back. The bad thing roared but Ophelia knew she could make it back down.

She grabbed Momma and pulled her back. Up past the roots and onto the sidewalk.

Momma, your back, said Ophelia, stroking Momma’s back.


Maxine Kollar is a wife and a mother of three. She has a degree in Political Science and intends to save the world as soon as she catches up on laundry.

Her works have appeared in Mamalode, Gravel Mag, Funny in Five Hundred, Rat’s Ass Review and elsewhere.