Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

The Little Laser Girl

Lorraine Schein

Light: The wands she sold were brighter than the snow, a colder light.
Amplification:  She flipped one on—it flared open, a humming white door.
Stimulated by: Oscillation between energy levels and the subtle realms of matter.
Emission of: Coherent light waves, so she could see the dead and the almost existing.
Radiation: Electromagnetic—she saw her grandmother pulsing in the now-visible,
ultraviolet-infrared regions of the spectrum as she froze.

Impaction

Laton Carter

Some people state some people, but neither word is exactly what they mean. Some is a lie, because it expresses inexactitude, and people is a lie because it is a generality. The people that state some people know exactly what they are saying, but choose inexact generalities to express it.

The word impact, meaning the point of collision, no longer suffices as a noun. Engineers find themselves impacted by the living conditions they witness. They are impacted by the people in these conditions, and the people, because of their conditions, have no choice but to impact.

Dentists are not impacted like engineers. Dentists witness impaction. A wisdom tooth becomes impacted, and the dentist’s job is to extract it from impaction.

Influence is like wind — the thing itself is invisible, but its effect is free and available to the eye. Trees bend to it — people’s lives break from it.

Tonka

Salvatore Difalco

It grew increasingly clear over time, despite small victories along the way, that I was coming out a loser. This distressed me because I had always envisaged myself as a winner. If you’re resigned to being a loser, then it’s easier to digest. If you have somehow fooled yourself, or others have fooled you, into believing you’re a winner when the opposite is proving true, life can become a monstrous drag. And what makes it even more of a drag is that even though you’re always entering the fray with the best hand, with the technical or mathematical edge, the underdogs are coming out on top, arms raised, the crowd cheering them on, almost every single time. It leads to despair. But you have to push on. You can’t just hit a restart button. Even jumping from an eighth floor balcony requires some forethought. You have to consider the pain, shattered bones, horrified passing children or seniors, and the trauma to the apartment building itself. And what if by some miracle you survive such a fall. Surely you’d be a drooling vegetable, loathsome to look at, a burden on family and society. If things were fair, and the odds weren’t always being bucked, life may have been different. But you can only play with the toy truck of “what if” for so long before your maturity or sanity comes into question. Let’s go to the balcony and reach back our arm and hurl that toy truck across the street. Let’s also hope that no children or seniors coincide with its trajectory.

Soundtrack

Florence Lenaers

In the space between hearing and listening I’m stuck. Imperfect soundproofing hands me half an earful of narrative straight from another kitchen sink. I should listen away. Can’t. Sleety sound effects, trickles of dialogues seep out, soak in my low-quality socks. Downstairs as downstairs neighbors are supposed to be, they lift the lid of their domestic music box, lift it with the very tips of their voices. Humming thrumming drumming. I make out few of their words, high volume helps, & ■■■■ is an easy one. The others wade beyond recognition, end up moving like shadow puppets made with mittens on. Their mouths are not the only ones talking. Their TV set has a loud flush. Their chair legs sharpen their claws on the tiles. Their cigarettes hiss by the window. Huffing puffing. Their trained bed comments upon whatever love they are making. Their doors slam themselves to sleep. Their arguments run in red high heels. Babbling. Their baby girl must question the ceiling every time my pile of books tumbles to the floor.

Dutch Tilt

Jennifer Handley

Dreamed I was in the back seat of a car with Robert Downey, Jr., a big black Packard like in a James M. Cain story. We’re making a movie, we’re making out; we’re being filmed through the side window by two guys crouched behind an old-fashioned camera shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. Robert wears a white shirt. He bends over me as I fall back against the vast upholstery. There is a driver, black suit and skinny tie, half turned in his seat. He gestures, and we look behind us, and framed in the back window is the top half of a huge rising moon, craters visible on its surface, moonlight shining in so that Robert’s white shirt glows and glows, the light nearly shattering the blue glass of my eyes.

Mosquito Logic Three (We the Help)

Jake Edgar

Emerging from your chrysalis, you were welcomed by an ignition of light that caught you and held you there. The warmth of crossed hands, pudgy and sterile. Is this true? Can belief be found in a place full of failed attempts to coalesce?

Peter says that he really just misses his kids and thank GOD for those emergency workers for talking him off that roof. You think sort of less of him each time he says the word God.

You’re waiting for the coloring session to end, to show a blackness sans blackness and then he brings up his kids again, each time he says kids he blinks like a falcon.

Paper Revolution

Lita Kurth

Paper stays with us, black and smoky like the sky above the roofs but behind the trees and there, automatic, it wasn’t, that thing that made me turn the lights on, car alarms buzzing and shouting, a noisy night of mammalian thunder and siren’s arms spilling out of cars. When the bomb hits, it’s only one, and wow, what a brightness and forth of July to a dead revolution, but bombs still burst. Here’s me in my quiet bed imagining blood. If only those soft curls fell on wounds, if only the snow, but why even talk of snow in a San Jose drought? This will be forgotten; an impact arises and grows from ambition, is that right? I doubt it. There’s door-kings of glass to grab, but leave the door closed. All the belts behind the door hide their history and the sky is cracking. Where are the soft hamburgers of pointed pain, a mess, but popcorn helps. It has no edges, only a plaintive mew. The bombs scratch the sky. Did we really do it all on purpose? We bought it, the breaking of many branches.

Neither Sun nor Death

Howie Good

They are beating the cars with metal bats. I think, “Am I supposed to be here?” That thing is on fire in a big way. I don’t get outside as much anymore. An illegal string offset “echo” has disappeared into the archive, to be handled by only people who wear white cotton gloves. I’m left to just cry. You need to be careful in interpreting that. Every day I confront the same choice: stay inside or perish. Somebody grabs Suzanne’s hair and twists her neck. We make eye contact. I know tulips aren’t spelled two lips.

[Interactive Objects]

C. Kubasta

Both place-based and place-less, this is a poem of great disloyalty. These are interactive objects discolored by the touch of people’s hands.

It is time to look at the concentric rings of once-whole wood. Here is the drought that starved us out. Here, the fire that barely killed us.

We contract the disease that killed him —remember which salad dressing to order, but not the man we cherished like a vow.

infanticide in outer space

Dylan Krieger

because the concept of heaven renders us all bygone astronauts. because burning forever would, in my book, be better. because this is my book, goddammit, and your ghost just a character. a character i stone to death over and over, like a piñata whose precious insides turn out to be just blood and water. because i want to show you how even a wordsmith can stumble on mother, the first syllables to stick between the teeth and sift the rubble for relief. a word that even now precedes me, precedes bondage, earth, trees, vaseline and ennui. precedes the need to give myself over to the elements and then, in turn, retreat, tape together my cheeks and terrorize the moon’s sleep with the memory of my confessor banishing me to the basement floor. by four in the morning, she’d awoke and spoke regretfully, but for me it will always be too late to go back to outer space, where the umbilical tethers taunt and chafe and the faraway planets don’t know me by name, but by taste

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