Archives for Flash Fiction

2010-03-12 15.51.12


A curtain of golden curls reaches past his shoulders. He moves through the graveyard barefoot, careful of thistles and pinecones. The ragged hem of his wide-legged, washed-out jeans brushes the grass like a gown.

In June, he planted petunias and daisies in front of old mausoleums, the ones whose families send a check every month, get a wreath at Christmas, lilies for Easter. If he stays on, he’ll bag the fallen leaves in October, pull up the memorial flags so they’re not worn ragged by the winter winds.

In between, he walks the endless rows of gravestones, breathing in gasoline fumes and wielding the roaring power of a Stihl 27cc weed eater.

2013-03-31 11.33.41


The final gear slotted into place. The watchmaker turned minute gold screws and fastened the back snug to the casing. He saw the piece’s future: a graduation gift, treasured, lost, treasured again, left to a daughter. She weeps at her father’s grave, but that is the natural order of things.

The watchmaker smiles. He is pleased. Not all of his visions are so fortunate.

2013-06-22 11.45.43


“They keep them to scare geese away,” the old man said. He poked the plastic swan with the end of his cane, and it bobbed closer to the central column of water. Spray rained down. The wet gleam of water brought a semblance of life to its dull, painted eyes.

His grandson reached for it and caught its beak in a pudgy fist. Forty feet away, brother and sister argued by their mother’s grave.



The wind turns his hair to coarse, black streamers. His skin is deep gold, and his features are mathematically precise: flat, sweeping planes bisected by sharp cheekbones, the acute angle of his jaw, the perfect arch of his brows.

He stands up on his pedals and  coasts. Though his chest is bare to the first spots of rain, his lashes are heavy and his mouth is red, as if he has put on stage make-up to greet the world.

2013-01-29 11.49.20


The wire mesh originally protected a sapling, now long starved out by scant soil and tall, concrete shadows. Little birds slip through the holes: sparrows, finches, dark-eyed juncos. Robins are too big. Crows don’t stand a chance.

Manna falls the from the apartments above. 3B drops toast crumbs every morning. 5B shares his sunflower seeds. The dryers vent nearby in a steady, warming stream. An overhang far above keeps off the rain.

face like the moon


Her face was wide and pale, and she was wide and pale all over. The blunt fall of brown hair to her chin only emphasized it. Moon-faced is not usually a positive description, but the moon lights up the night and moves the seas from two hundred thousand miles away.

Likewise, she turned and turned with grace, steady in her orbit. Likewise, she had a dark side.

2013-06-20 11.21.24


Her tightly permed curls echoed the linked metal circles of the necklace that covered most of her chest. Both were silver. She wore a white leather cap, white orthopedic shoes, and carried a pink cane printed with small, yellow flowers. The first three buttons of her shirt were undone, and the point of her chain-mail necklace touched the center of her bra.

Condensation rolled down her second beer. Outside, her white Cutlass Ciera was double parked.



The rusted beast rose up out of sweaty grass and poison ivy, sun steaming water out of the earth. The safety tour was conducted by a guy who looked like his name should be Joey No Nose. It wasn’t that he had¬†no nose, but it was a pug-like, pushed-in affair, and it gave his voice a nasal quality.

His hands were large and furred in black hair up to the second joint of every finger. In a dark room with an uncertain floor, he lifted up a fallen baby owl, and his hands were a substitute nest before he placed it gently back where it belonged.

“It’s a lie what they say about smelling humans on them,” he said. “Their mothers always come back for them.”



He had everything but the pith helmet: the worn leather boots, the close-cut khaki jacket and matching trousers, the bow tie, the tortoiseshell glasses. Ropey strands of sandy-grey hair washed up over the bald dome of his head like seaweed on a shingle beach. His lips were wide and fleshy, pink and dry. A cloth-covered canteen stuck out of his jacket pocket.

His stride was long and easy, and his dusty boots ate up the city sidewalk. He knew where he was going: somewhere far from here.



He had a mouth like a drawstring purse, done up tight. His hair was white, cut close to the bone, razored across the back in a regimentally straight line. His suit was summer-weight, beige, and it hung on him like someone else’s skin.

He pushed a lawnmower ahead of him in short, powerful shoves. It would roll two or three feet, and he’d walk, momentarily freed, behind it. When he caught up with it, he’d send it flying again.
“Wait till he hits the downhill,” the woman next to me at the bus stop said. I nodded, eyes straining, but the 71D pulled up to block our view.
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