The Word-Swallower Finds Her Groove
The world, today, is a white elephant’s nightmare. As I roam the city, everything folds flat. High rises back away. Headless torsos, some white-on-blue, some blue-on-white, retreat into trompe-l’oeil windows. “You’re nothing but cardboard cutouts,” I say. My voice is thin.
This used to be my lagoon. I explored its warm cleft with the tip of my tongue. How will I write it now? A wolf emerges from magenta shadow, snaps at my shins. The end of its muzzle has been sliced off. I scissor my fingers to scare it away.
I’d wanted to plumb the black velvet cruelty of cowboys. To lick the flames consuming the clown. But whoever stole the picture’s third dimension sucked out its essence with a straw. As I snatch at this unknown miscreant, I watch my hand blanch. I could tear it in two with my teeth. If they still can.
Picking up a lopsided heart from the gutter, I see my mistake. Depth has gone, but form is sharper than ever. Night advances on indigo stilts. Through the yellow stars, Icarus is falling in eighth note lines.
By now, my head is a bald disc, but that’s okay. I tear my sonnets into strips and swallow them, three at a time. To syncopate their rhythm. This scene calls for jazz.
Faye Brinsmead lives in Canberra, Australia. Her flash fictions have appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, MoonPark Review and The Cabinet of Heed, in Reflex Fiction's anthology The Real Jazz Baby, and in Ellipsis Zine Six: 2119. She came third in Meanjin's 2019 "twiction" competition. Say hi on Twitter @ContesdeFaye.
The Ekphrastic Review
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