Flash Fiction and Poetry
Hali, Halle, Hamako
The day came when we could no longer hide the glisten-sight of our daughter’s flippers, nor the secret of her skin, its oils and fur. Like all the other parents afflicted before us, we at last took her to the lonely end of the island, to the cliffs hung high above the breaking surf. There my wife kissed our daughter’s wet nose goodbye, after which I bound her tight in her bedclothes, stilled her wide limbs to her sleek middle.
And then how our baby tumbled from our hands, plummeting through the air and into the swallowing sea.
What endeavors untaken to forget: Even as our guilty bodies tried again for some more right-birthed baby, even as our bodies proved unable to produce another. Even as we entered this famined sea, this season of nets cast out and collected empty, until throughout our village every stomach was just as empty as our crib.
And now these legs, walking me back to the cliff, wearing a guilt-path wide through the jungle.
Now these eyes, watching the ocean crash its anger-fist upon the shore, a parade of knuckles on top of knuckles on top of knuckles.
Now this hurt-drowned heart, when I see how other times the ocean is flat like so much glass, like the sandy beach once lightning-fused, mirror-smooth.
When I see my own face staring back up at me from the depths.
I see my face or a face like my face, but not the faces of the fish that once swam there instead.
Our fish are gone, and our daughter too, and together her mother and I, we pray for some rewinding of waves, some reversal of what awful ripples we have made, so that our daughter might one day find her way back to the flat side of the island, to the wide yellow beaches, to the path that leads through the jungle to our small hut, our home meant once to be her home.
And if it happens? If our pup comes back?
Then how: With anger? With forgiveness? With love?
Or with what thing we deserve instead, a new gift from our new daughter, dredged deep from the dark, rising slow and sure, purposed only to take us back down?
Traveling At the Speed of Light on a Blade of Grass
—peter k. boes
How to get your Flash Fiction in Artvoice!
In the Margins occasionally features flash fiction by local writers. The flash fiction editor is Forrest Roth. Submissions running 500 words or less can be sent by e-mail to email@example.com or by mail to Forrest Roth, Flash Fiction Editor, Artvoice, 810 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14202. Please include a SASE to have manuscripts returned.
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