Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

Castor Mound

Jeff Streeby

St. Hubert’s Day
and through frost smoke rising from the creek
a waxing moon

Sunset. Light leaching from a freezing sky. A clear night falling. East, the cold glitter of evening stars, but west beyond the lake, twilight burning out in colors of honey, wood violets and blue vervain.

Right about now that 80 lb. super blanket I spotted last week will be working the castor set just upstream from the den. The chin stick will make him drop a front foot squarely between the jaws of a #4. Tomorrow morning, as sure as I’m standing here, he’ll be at the bottom of the drowning rod. If he’s as big as I think he is, he’ll go at least 70 inches. As long as he isn’t all scarred up, he’ll maybe rate “Select”.

Venus. The Milky Way. The order of things.

The Beaver Moon
At perigee,
biggest and brightest of a lifetime

Alcoholic

Kathleen Nalley

It was 1975. There was a jail cell and a death sentence, a liver barely functioning. There was a coffee filter and a metal tub of shoe polish. There was nothing but time and silence. Her father’s father played chemist, separating the alcohol molecules from the rest of the chemical goo. There was extraction, taste, and, finally, release. He descended from the Goths. They spoiled the land with their presence, their grease, their ilk. They were an underground fracture, a mineral seepage, kudzu and weeds, invasive. Their offspring, poison. Their semen, toxin in the water.

Shield

Tanja Bartel

If a bird visits your window sill and no one has died recently, it’s just a bird. Or the person in the window is an omen to the bird. No one can say. If hope is the thing with feathers, hopelessness is bald as an egg.

*

He throws sand at my window when we fight. One grain at a time. Ping, sting.

*

I’m afraid of the sight on the street from my window. There’s something on the glass and I don’t know if it’s on the outside or insidious. Could be my face. Streetlights have never saved anyone. Still, we walk under lights, flooded with trust.

Over My Dead Body

Brad Rose

I’m happening, now. I can’t stop myself. It’s always TV about food or food about TV. I’m employed, yes, but not gainfully. Maybe it’s better to start every conversation with a question? I’m a bomb-ass disco dancer, but I’m strictly non-confrontational. People tell me I remind them of a beginner’s trapeze mistake. Yes, my pants are on backwards, but I’m well-armed and extremely courteous. If I had a hammer, the other animals wouldn’t stand a chance. Except for the wolves. Those cowards took the 5th amendment. I’m feeling lucky as a lottery ticket, but that may be an overestimation of the DNA evidence. Ricky said that if you have the right attitude, every day is a holiday. Just think of it. To each his own. I’m going to get to the bottom of this, even if it kills me. Have you ever heard of such a thing? No, I didn’t think so. Get in the car. This is not a test.

Magical Materialism

Kathryn Kopple

I’m spread out in front of the television watching Nature in high definition. There’s something heroic and tragic about the swishing lizard, the way it risks a dune, the tiny sawing tail erasing its footprints. A blur. I should really call the occultist. Instead, I’ve spent all day collecting empty bottles to string up as makeshift wind chimes—now I’ve decided to consign them all to the trash. If I had a new prescription, I could search the Yellow Pages. Instead, it too goes into the bin. It’s not as if I don’t see the problem. Surely, I mean oculist. Surely, I don’t mean, a second kind of sight is what is needed here.

Toda Dia, Toda Noite

Catherine Moore

for Maria Teresa Horta

The dung beetle aids the earth with its slow collection of a fecal diet. The ladybird beetle unwittingly pollenates, in fertile droppings, as it chases whiteflies. Small offerings. Unmeditated. Like a cochineal gifting red dye or silk worms secreting thread. The banal. By remnant. In bits. Like some Maria at her small Portuguese window pushing pen onto paper, waiting for her marmalade to set.

Almost Asemic

Barbara March

First I have to say words are generally damaged beyond the point of legibility, even so, I won’t let coyote just go to anyone, not by verbal expression, he is truly a awesome pen, he is smooth and works good off your legs  and has a sweet temperament and a good thinking mind which resembles writing but avoids words, he love s to b with people and will always b my pseudo gigantic, unexplored property, possibly when testing a new pen, I truly believe It looks like writing, (but we can’t quite read it,) Tony said he has a lot of meaning through his shape, others take us for a ride along their curves, we like some, we dislike others, I had to put down my pencil that I had since a yearling she was n15 she broke her leg devastating, She was my best friend I just don’t feel like since she s gone not yet anyways I must say he does need a hot wire he seems to get himself in trouble gets his foot stuck, stands there wordless writing till u get him free so yes hot wire if u want to talk u can call oh and my pic s arrive at a personal, absolutely correct mis-interpretation.

Robot #18 (meal plan)

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

The robot attempts to prepare a romantic dinner. He folds napkins like a Russian chess player: confident, stony-faced, and precise. But the courses are somewhat of an internet cliché. The salad is first. Then a bisque. Then a roast chicken. Then German chocolate cake (the German threw him off for a bit, but he then realized it was just part of the name). It is worthy of any juvenile first attempt at romantic meal planning. But where is the personality, robot? Where is the danger?

De Profundis

James Reidel

A fresh mole tunnel has disturbed the grass. So the earth opens its veins to the sky and where the freemasons would think to pour forth, with their legions, their little martial poses and airs as red as the redcoats I would arrange around my bed swords high and muskets trained only to be smote with my pillow still wet with my face and tears. Time out!

I have a garden hoe now. I have a trap that I could see duct-taped to a broomstick and so brandish the double trident of some final and human dare. But the countermining along the north wall and the children’s bedrooms, which we like to think of as empty “guest rooms,” where all the radiators are closed to save on the heat, has surfaced into the pine bark bed and felled my forest of Echinacea, their stalks leaning this way and that, the purple pompoms and golden eyes that would delight my day like so many false buttons running up and down a birthday clown’s smock.

So I just walk around the house in a mope and tug at the curtains, the chinks in their material, the way I might have wanted that old clown to twist for me yet another deer, another dachshund, or my favorite, the little balloon sword. I named it Cling-clang and burst in front of the other children and parents, squeezing the blade up from the bottom, and on purpose.

So I am miserable in your eyes that travel from this page to the next, feather mites on the blackbird’s wing, who watch like gods flying, looking for some new and blacker forest.

The Child River (with Monkey Burn)

James Reidel

A walking stick, which taps the green footbridge, testing the first few boards, following a few bars of the brown notation all through the woods—the worried lunch bag paper of dead beech leaves, which hang on through the winter, and they provide the only rustle, the only greenery, so to speak, or where the color peeled off the picture, such that whatever is seen here is not painted with good linseed oil that lasts, or on cloth with a tight weave, more at kraft paper and half-dry finger paints, which are so thick and strong at first, that would resist and sometimes resist more than a little. There was some evidence for this, in the way her slim wrist gave across from me at the art table, as though from nowhere, as though her hand had been taken by a ghost that bled in those few colors. And suddenly I realize I have been twisting the wood rail of the bridge in two different directions, while thinking the water would be the blue, the banks the green, the stick trees the brown, and the gray dots for the stones or stations you must climb upstream, to where a swale meets it, a meadow of mostly wild strawberry. The earth still sparkles wet here, wherever prints fill with what will be a river eventually, the undertow, which nurses here, sucking on the deer’s hooves, the devil’s cattle.

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