A Journal of Brief Literature
It’s going to be an epic proposal. Twenty of us, seated in a big circle on the blue shag carpet, legs in crisscross applesauce, playing telephone. I look straight at her, blow a kiss across the room and start it off with, “Will you marry me?” Surely they won’t screw this up. Fourteen people later I watch expectantly as they whisper in her ear “Why are you so hairy?”
Who can resist a magical, tiny tome that fits in the palm of your hand?
Every decision you’ve ever made landed you here, she said. All the years bewildered on the spaghetti aisle, fancying myself pretentious, I got fusilli and radiatore. Should I have chosen linguini instead? I asked. Orecchiette, God, I ate so much orecchiette. No point looking back, she said. You’ll never know.
I saw your text while at work, vowing to respond later. I remembered at 2AM. Pretending I sleep at night, with my life on track as I imagine yours, I’ll reply in the morning. I forgot. Days went by, too anxious to text back now. Sorry I’m a shitty friend.
Taking the HIgh Road
Four of us are out to dinner. Tonight, we’re taking the high road. Rules: 1. Phones in the middle of the table. 2. No gossip. We sit in silence, stare at one another, look at our fingernails, check our hair for split ends. Finally, I cave. Somebody, please, spill some tea!
Otters sleep holding hands lest they float away and lose one another.
After our argument, we turned and faced the other way, feigning sleep that eluded us, keenly aware that we’d both still be here in the morning.
Elephants are like ballerinas. You think they have these big, flat feet but underneath it all, they’re walking on their tiptoes, as if in toe shoes.
I wanted to ask you if you’d rather be an otter or an elephant in your next life.
Fifty-Word Stories, February 18, 2022
We moved to the coast seeking calm. Emily lasted two months. She’s staying with family now in Ohio.
I stay awake nights, with no one to talk to about the fierce ocean and seagulls the size of cocker spaniels. Eating Cheetos, playing Tetris, synapses fire. Expectant neurons, ravenous, demand more.
Spring 2022 Issue V
We met by chance. So much in common, bonding over shared phobias, convinced the Holland Tunnel, with tiles crumbling, water dripping, would flood and kill us. We’ll escape the city by the George Washington Bridge, we agreed. Upper deck, naturally. When it collapses, which it will, we’ll be on top.
He wasn’t a perfect father. Funny, quirky, often drunk, usually kind, but stay out of the way when he ran the vacuum. He took me bike riding at midnight on quiet, empty streets. Woke me to watch the sunrise at the beach. Best of all was a rainstorm. He’d find me and we’d run outside. Stand holding hands, faces lifted skyward, gleefully pelted by rain, daring it to try to usurp our joy.
March 2, 2023