Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

Swallowtail

Melissa Kwasny

A cloud passes over you and I forget the sun; it comes back and you revive, a state of wonder. Luminosity and complete collapse, tumbling down onto the path but usually able to get up again. You are like a shadow-being, one from the myth, which has slipped with the worms into their cocoons, sleep spun around you in gossamer but sturdy threads, but here you are, gesturing of flight again. Behaviorism, they say, posits that if we want to believe, we act like we believe and eventually we will. If we act ritualistic, we become ritual. If we act like we have all the time in the world. The creek in spring is gathering its chorus, a lot of by-hand shorthand and hourly touch. You say: we remember people by the feeling we once felt for them. Intermediate creatures, remnants left of wind, much is lost off the edge of our dreams. Like the swallowtail in February you pulled from the snow, still soaked in its supernatural beams. Insect tales: we make them up as we enter them, blue eyespots on the wings, blue continuous all around the outer margins. Lemon yellow and horizontal, and much like birds.

Petri Dish

Maura Stanton

It’s warm and cozy under the glass lid and all kinds of us are pulsing and squiggling around in here, little round cocci, skinny bacilli, and coiling spirilla, all of us trying to see who can multiply the fastest. We’re quick and lively and competitive. We ferment your yogurt and eat your waste products, but remember that we’re in this for the long haul, and some of us are hoping to get into your intestines or blood or onto your eyelashes so we can make our sort of organism immortal. Along the way you may have to die. But what’s the difference between a person and a colony of bacteria? Answer: we could live without you but you couldn’t live without us. So relax. We’re just doing what we have to do. Put us under the microscope and look down the eyepiece. Aren’t we lovely? Watch the bacilli waving like wands, banging into spirilla. Watch the spirilla twisting like miniature acrobats over and under them, knocking against the berry-shaped cocci. Watch the cocci rolling away, and bouncing back.

Our Lady of State Street

Jeanie Tomasko

So I go to this reading down at the bookstore and afterwards meet a friend of a friend. She’s unlocking her bike and I notice a shiny decal on the crossbar half under a long sticker. Holy, I say. It’s the green Virgin of Guadalupe, #4 out of 10. I have Her too, along with #s 2, 5, and 9. She wants more, she says. She got this one in a gumball machine in the Sauk City Mexican grocery. That’s where I’ve been going for my Virgins, but it’s too late, things have changed up a bit. And I tell her about the conversion to Minions and Skulls and Tattoos of Biker Chicks. She prefers Virgins, I can tell, as Our Lady shines, there on her crossbar, sparkling. Our Lady. Our Lady of State Street. Our Lady of Biker Chicks. Our Lady, bless her ride home.

welcome to the blue

Cintia Santana

hour, welcome to the final
destination, the body’s home
address, there are rooms here
you will never want to know
but now you know: glass–
paned and built in shade of
shipyard, someone else at the
prow, oh god you say, oh god,
by which you mean your
mother’s name, dial it down
now, yes, you hear me, dial it
down; the wattage of the world
turned up, all knives in sharp
relief; time and the turning of
the page, how once you were
attached to her and now, now
this, the plating of the head;
red barn is being razed; hard
to find fresh flowers on a grave
—sweeping, so much sweeping—
east house is down.

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