Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

The Squalling Call

Lorene Delany-Ullman

A black swarm above a fallow field, or they roost in the street trees, and in the groves of eucalyptus along the Metrolink tracks. Are they blackbirds, starlings or crows? For three nights, our neighbors play Death Cry of a Crow to the trees and sky. How frightening, we say, waiting for the branches to empty. How righteous we’ll feel when the throng of birds takes flight, rowing through the air to new colonies.

Soldier Child

Robert Miltner

Two dark oak doors with white porcelain knobs. The dun plaster and lathe walls frame a boy of thirteen. He wears an unbuttoned double-breasted coat clutched at his chest by his left hand. His cropped hair is as dark as hardwood floors. A turned-up collar, his torn pants and bare feet. The white bandage wound around his left knee. The weight he won’t put on it. The way he stares back, his eyes black as the holes of gun barrels. The way he doesn’t blink.

Embracing the Bodhisattvas

Robert Miltner

Night sky with slivered waning moon. A river filled with flares and riven with flaws. Glow-sticks in underwater glass jars: a controlled burn of spiritual ambiguity. Flint and stone walls encase the Buddhist temple. Candled lanterns illuminate paired hands. An ancient tree aglow with sparkling seeds. The lush mountain range is tonal. Listen: raindrops make the brass bowls sing.

Aubade

Jonathan Jones

Well meant is insincere, turn out their pockets and whatdoyouknow. This one would be a marriage, this a different set of rules. Keys on the kitchen table and the milk sour breath of happiness. Aubade, so easy to criticize, I know, the ones you do not know. Their tone rings reminiscent of nothing so simple to correct. Dead language roped around their wrists. Time’s microscopic epic labels everything lost property. Less casual than formal. All on show.

The Myth (4)

Jerry McGuire

The Company of Wolves, “The Story of Grandmother”

All the pretty girls in their bright red hoods, against forest green, blizzard white, diamond mine, pure flame. Each her beast of cunning oncoming, filthy blast of desire, lostness of love. The dance behind everything a stumble through the woods, strut down a narrow path, fumble at the door. Behind it, always, grandma in grandma drag, rocking, knitting, humming a pop song, cuddling her Bible, cradling her shotgun. The guts in jugs on shelves, ferocious tease of teenage nipple, the cunt you never see. Everything turns from cartoon to feast of horror and back again, looping forever, origin story to grind of endtimes, sacraments of warning, damnation, redemption, salvation. The woodsman who comes chops everything up and stacks it in neat piles smeared with granny, the wolf, the girl. That he himself escapes is never in doubt. She forever puzzling over path of pins, path of needles, he confirmed and solemnized in path of axe.

Ephesus

M. R. R. Gutierrez

The temple is almost gone. Its remains settle snugly into a niche surrounded by grasses and poppies. The sun is so hot it turns the sky white, burns the chlorophyll out of the tops of the plants, putting all the colors together and makes everything seem bright and otherworldly. It’s like finding an old shin bone in the grass. In many years, the stone will have worn further, time folding it gently back into the earth. All the while—if we have stayed away—the poppies will have claimed everything, falling into cracks, stretching their arms out, running over the hills and bones, spots of blood on a handkerchief.

It All Depends

Brad Rose

Admiring the corporality of animals, we’re parked in the ghost car. I have an indoor question: How many misspelled thoughts must I have, anyway? There’s nothing more beautiful than wanting the impossible to be true, especially when it is. Time passes faster in the mountains, than it does by the sea. Like a drowned body, the sky’s blue prairie floats overhead. Wind light as confetti. Maybe we should take a drive to the beach; go for a swim? I don’t want to give away the ending, but I can tell you it’s a beauty. No one attends their own funeral. Know what I’m saying? By the way, that outfit looks good on you. Although, it all depends on how you look at it.

Notes

Theodore Worozbyt

The black Bell telephone rings. That sound had lingered. Outside, throats hidden beneath a leaf, faces blunted, the toads have stopped waiting to be collected. Slowly then, as though my queasy blank might meet itself and soar deep into the blue invisibility of a Northern sky, Isabelle Faust draws her bow across a charcoal portrait hanging in my mind. Ones appear in such gaps as the eye provides and the ear can’t ignore, if not their expressions. They stay welcome but stay alone, and sing their sighs through spaces between forgettings. Only grief hears them out. The violin is not higher than the viola; it is smaller. Each note contains a fingertip touching something so like itself there remains no distinction in the echo.

Syrupy

Ivy Alvarez

Spine of the world: its curvature: sheer. Here. Consider each tangle. Impossible at this angle. A honeyed slickening, skin scaffolding, thin viscosity whips falling, how much vertigo our earth diverts, divests for the ceiling. So crystalline. Everything begs for a licking, a taste of armature, pure musculature, sweet architecture. Such a candied, candid space between these buildings. A teeth of stones, shadows, signposts. Blinds. A muscled bite. Concrete bones beneath each bright surface. Right. Simply scurfless. Open doors to cavities, decay, every roof shiny with condensation, haze. Let’s scoop the drops, boil it up. Reduce. Evaporate.

Night Prowl

Ion Corcos

I am a rattlesnake, wrapped in a purple blanket. A route over water and mountains. The forecast is for snow, half a world away. I am human with fire in my belly, burning wild. A mad dog, prowling the streets at night. It is raining now. It is snowing. My house is on fire. I am a tree holding a nest of eggs. A rattlesnake comes. Steals them. I will not hold fear, tend to it like a baby. It is snowing now. I hold a broken umbrella. An umbrella is a tree without spirit. There is someone in the dark.

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