No one will know
Woke up mouth-caught, suspended in solitude, not a muscle move. Fling open a window breathe in the life outside.
He is not a man.
Presence presence when you want absence. It is so hard to stay here sometimes.
I see blurred green because he brings me my coffee; I do not know him and I am so grateful for this kindness. I did not even have to ask. You know, I did not even realise – crazy lady – that I was going to cry. Swept in the felt of my bed, nothing came but white.
I want this puzzle to come falling down all around my head like snow; I will be buried beneath.
Slow quiet this morning. Still-moving. He has left; walked out into the dust in his coat with smoke blurring him about. Now I am suspended here. I am suspended in this day, blowing in-between.
I will be lost in the day. No one will know.
Everyone is in hood and scarves. I am only in thin. From a cold country I am. Meirav told me I am not wearing enough but I am from a cold country. In my country we heat our houses; here, I shiver in my coat at night, a fan blowing hot air on my tan-clad ankles until they burn. Meirav read my writing and she cried.
All the world outside this window goes by speeded up, rushes around as if we are the only still point.
He is not a man, his still-swept shoulders race over me and his still-stooped shoulders never had to stand tall and now they’re falling down.
I opened my window to take in the life outside.
Who are these crowd of people in their puffa coats when I’m only in a slip of a shirt? How is it that I have so few clothes? My suitcase was 20.9Kg in the end. ‘You are lucky,’ the woman at the check-in said.
I left Meirav’s house and walked down Ahad Ha’am. I can endure. For so long like a camel without a drink. You know, you carry the cloud around you. You know that, don’t you? You inhabit this place; you leave it when you choose.
No one will know. I move completely silent in this world. This is why I write.
Leila Segal‘s Breathe: Stories from Cuba is out now from Flipped Eye. Her prose is often experimental, exploring fragmentation and strangeness, and how language can be used to unify or drive apart. Read more atRead More
Fever brings me
a pile of white dolls
in the evening light
which seeps, tired,
They have empty faces
and sundered limbs
poor delphic things
and I don’t even know
where their home is,
Did you ever expect
them to be this perfect?
That is, before I sweep
them into a dustpan,
before I pour them
in to the red bin.
Abigail Price was born and brought up in West Wales and now lives in Devon. She recently gained an MA with Merit in Creative Writing at Keele University. She was shortlisted for the Roy Fisher Prize for Poetry 2011 and her work will appear in an anthology. She is Features Editor of a national magazine, and a keen pianist and singer.Read More
If you were a very nice, capable and patient person, my friend Ivy
was better than that. If you had an expensive dress,
her’s was even more expensive. If you were really happy, Ivy would have
captivated you, very soon. As time passed by I learned to accept her
just the way she was. Each of us is unique sort.
Upon my return from the Medjugorje Sanctuary I had some nice
photographs to show her. I did not go on the trip just to boast
about it afterwards, but wanted to share some nice moments just with her.
Ivy had been to this beautiful sanctuary several years earlier.
After listening to my excited stories, she asked me in a serious tone:
Did you go to the water closet there?
No, we stayed at the hotel cross the street
where we had really nice rooms and everything else.
So, you did not see the public conveniences, there?
No, I didn’t!
Now, that was something to think about! How come I hadn’t seen
the water closet, indeed!
-You should have, you know. It’ s an adventure! It is the
most beautiful water closet I’ve ever seen. Can’t believe it …
Too bad you did not see it.
I hung my head in shame. That’s why we have friends, I guess.
Djurdja Vukelic Rozic was born on April 6, 1956, lives in Croatia. She graduated from the Faculty of Economy in Zagreb, in her youth she lived in Chicago, USA. She publishes humorous sketches, aphorisms and poetry. So far published 4 independent collections of humorous sketches, book of poetry, while aphorisms and another book of poetry are at the printers. She published a haiku collection as well and edited an anthology of Croatian haiku poetry in Croatian and English.Read More
we are hip to hip
your palm pressed firm
in the small of my back
fingerprints left on vertebrae,
the flexing of the chord
your heart beats
in my chest and rattles
bones, busting in or out I can’t
decide, your gut wrestling mine
to the floor, tangled hair
the walls are air
the landing cold, hard
hands tied I do not merge
but spread thinner, thinner still
until I am seen, invisible.
Zelda Chappel is a poet and occasional photographer living halfway between the city and the sea. Slightly obsessed with fountain pens and tea. Previously published in Popshot, South Bank Poetry and Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual 2012 (and a couple of others).Read More
We know the list, but we still write it down:
Milk opal, resin opal, wood opal, menilite, Muller’s glass, siliceous sinter, fire opal, Peruvian opal, black opal.
The overhead projector makes a noise like a click beetle flexing its abdomen, until it stops at the Coober Pedy Opal.
It’s ours more than anyone in the class.
Our grandfather helped to claw that opal out of the earth at Eight Mile.
In a couple of years, we learn how opals come out of Coober Pedy. But I can see how it happened already – sheaths of phosphorescence skating off the rock, falling like water into the blushed, hot soil. A couple of neon drops kissing my fingertips.
Sometimes we visit our granddad in Coober.
His dugout cave has a carpet-panelled basement where he keeps his collection of small opals and home brew kits. They are married together in an old apple crate, overrun by silverfish. He takes us on his knees and tells us about the first tree they made in Coober. ‘Metal, it is’, he slurs, ‘Where else can you find that?’
Elizabeth Welsh is an academic editor & writer, originally from New Zealand, currently living in London. She is rather consumed with short story writer, Katherine Mansfield and misses beach-living. She blogs here.Read More
Manuel Cortez and the Immortal Tree
“A tree that is left growing in its natural state is a crude thing” Minamoto no Shitagō
There was nothing left for me
except to chase the ghosts of Cabral,
Columbus and de Gama
to the edge of the world
which is where I found them
with the rising sun.
At first I was amused
by these little trees,
kept by little people.
I never acquired my master’s taste for deadwood.
The grey ropes coiling and matting the trunk,
wide brooms and ball crowns,
his eye for grafting
a fragile species onto firmer roots.
I preferred the chokkan bonsai
the formal upright style. It reminded me
of Lisbon, before the earthquake,
and the lingering doubts.
No storm has ever harmed them
the nurserymen, training their bonsai into form
a forest of akadama bowls
I came to admire the bonsais’ talent
for twisting around guide wires,
into something designed,
And how a master exploits
the bonsai’s daily thirst for light
each lean preceded by a desire to lean.
The secret is letting them believe
they’re not dwarfs, rather
Men are giants.
The finest bonsai in Edo
were clipped from a sacred tree
found in the scarred earth
of a newly opened fault line.
A well-trained bonsai outlives her master
but through careful trimming and pruning
he too will live forever.
Does this not show how far we’ve come?
Samatar Elmi is a poet and poetry editor for Helicon magazine. A mentee of Dorothea Smartt’s on the Young Inscribe programme, he has been published in the Young Inscribe Anthology, Scarf, Decanto, and Exiled Writers Ink. Samatar is a resident poet at Numbi and has performed for the Arvon foundation. Samatar also translates Somali poetry, focussing on the work of Osman Gabyaee.
I knock on the iron door. My knuckle bounces off the cold surface sending the sound back into the cutting air. I wrap my coat sleeve around my knuckle and I bang it again, thud, thud, thud, trapping the sound at the point of contact, muffling it into place like squeezing a mouse against a wall not to kill it just to keep it there. The thud becomes a boom echoing inside.
Then a sound like someone falling downstairs. The metal door cranks open- a slit- then widens and I enter. I climb the stairs. There are vases of dead flowers on the table. People like shadows glowing in the half light to slowly reveal aspects of colour; the red sleeve of a jumper, a knitted blue and white hat, fingerless navy mittens, a yellow shoulder of a kafkhan. They are moving around a blue flame which is intermittently covered and revealed by cooking vessels. There are utensils, crockery, uncut vegetables such as turnips, leaks and potatoes in a large cardboard box. There are packets of unopened sushi all in a row and the lingering smell of bananas slowly melting beneath their pulverising skin.
The tap in the corner is dripping into a puddle of water in a bowl. Cooking utensils cover the grey office carpet around this puddle that is bouncing off the dim light from the window.
At the other end of the room a man is having his hair cut. He has grey hair that curls around his neck and a placid face and he is sitting upright on a hard backed chair with a bib over his chest tied at the back of his neck. The whirr of the electric shaver is busy at the back of his head where a small young woman is guiding it like a miniature lawn mower.
I am ushered into the side room. There is ash on the carpet and rows of packets of meat on the window sill where a crack of air gets in because the heavy sill has been wedged open with a brick. My stomach turns. There is no smell because the meat- large wedges of red and brown the size of small loaves, is smell-less in the vacuum packed plastic that seals it from all contact. Nevertheless my stomach leaps and I think I am going to throw up.
I back out and say to the first person I see,
“Please can you remove the meat on the window sill in that room”
Someone comes in and the meat is taken out.
I sweep the floor with a broom while a man puts up a cloth over the inner glass partition of this office cubicle. He stands on a chair and dislodges the white ceiling slates one at a time in order to tuck the cloth into the gap and then let the slate fall back into place. Soon the room is self-contained- a vacuumed space in this wider building.
I look out the window and see office workers working in an adjacent building glancing up and down back at their fingers on the touch-pad. Another man, maybe an architect is standing over a map spread out on a low table. His finger is pointing to one place on the paper and his whole body is leaning too, over in that direction.
I unroll the mat and put it in the middle of the room, then take out the halogen heater from my bag and plug it in. Its two elements glow orange.
A woman comes in with a crooked neck. She has fallen down a flight of stairs whilst carrying a sofa up to the top of the building. She limps in and lies down.
Ruth Solomon writes flash fiction every so often. She is also a visual artist. She has had several pieces published in Ink, Sweat and Tears. See her writing here: www.preambleruthsolomon.blogspot.org and her art here: wwwmovements.blogspot.comRead More