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Into the Darkest Heart by Denton Loving Flyleaf Literary Journal Chicago Issue #6

"Into the Darkest Heart" by Denton Loving

Issue #6 / May 2014

Illustrated by Monica Garwood


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DENTON LOVING lives near the historic Cumberland Gap, Where Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia converge. He works at Lincoln Memorial University, where he co-directs the annual Mountain Heritage Literary Festival and serves as executive editor of Drafthorse: the literary journal of work and no work ( He is also editor of Volume 4 of the Motif Anthology Series, published by Motes Books. His fiction, poetry, essays and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in River Styx, PANK, Main Street Rag and in numerous anthologies.




"My father had a son. The son was me. My father’s own father had died the year before, and the birth of the child partially filled that hole. The child’s arrival was a relief. It was a spring day after a long winter. It was hope realized. The son was hope. I was the son, and I was hope fulfilled.


My father had a son that he didn’t know what to do with. So he carried his son with him everywhere he went.


My father had a son, and he became a stay at home dad. He didn’t consider himself a pioneer in gender equality. He didn’t see himself riding the front of the wave of stay at home fathers. He didn’t think about gender roles at all.


My father had a son, who was more than he bargained for, as all children are. He knew children must be watched vigilantly, but even the quietest child—perhaps especially the quietest child—will escape from vigilance, only to be found playing in the toilet or hidden in a cabinet or gone altogether with only the front door left ajar.


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