The Shine Journal

Exceptional Flash, Poetry, Art and Photography!

A False Storm by Barbara Hall



They used to tell legends about the death eaters. The gypsum hills of New Mexico. All the work connects at a place called the Pocket, far removed from the mathematics of detonations, bombs exploding over the field.

They blur through a haze, burrowing through the dunes. A sort of ivory gone mad. There’s an inner music. You go to their parties and learn their language. People living downwind, ambling from the undergrowth. You took all of your change and started walking.

They have a name. Fathers who went out for cigarettes. For months they cross the avenue, the corridor below the street, and disappear.

And then we see you. Walking with your hands in your pocket, all the way to the rusty steps. You’ve climbed them with your mother.

We see you from a distance, staring up at the clock. Into the lobby. Holier than a church under fluorescent sun. When the light flares and leaps, there it all is. And you wait for someone to come. There’s a groan from the walls, the floor. The sound wakes you some mornings and you stand outside, watching the afterclaps roll into some seam of the earth.

They are conceived in a flash. Connecting at some point no one can find. Somewhere down the line, in the Osaka sun. This is our select disquiet. Blood rushing thousands of miles away and how would you define it? Eta. Filth, are they. Shadows on the flats. Crossbar figures stretching hellbent into the sand.

A false storm rumbles in your skin. Out the train windows, hundreds flicker past eyes reflected in the glass. And you are there too. Stiff and fleshy. Leaning tousled over the man from that commercial. He’s had a bad streak, that was all.

He opens his mouth. Slips through the window, falling down the stairs to the sound.

They waltz in unison, gliding towards the wooden hill. Up, and down again. Another flies up behind and pounces. They float until all are finished, the tango line complete.

Clouds collapse into pits. The world is magnified. In the fog of your garden, on the road, they stir up, pushed by the wind from the depths of nowhere.

Signs, buildings, and cars flash beady eyes, shifting too fast to see more than a breath.

Heat creeps in, dimming every sharp corner, every line between one thing and the next.

Gravel. A police siren wail. Car doors slam. Streetlamps fade as dirty hands slide across the chrome.

A child squeals from a grocery cart. Motors churn, drifting into the deep. The schema explodes, flying from the wreckage in an invisible cloud.

Fingers grope to catch the wheels, fixed in a pattern perfected. They fill with the echoes of silence, a quiet that has nothing to do with stillness, quaking deep inside.

Bellows of half-hearted anticipation thrash a poignant nonsense, swaying to the rhythm of a symphony silent through the hallowed halls. A masterpiece without words to speak, the sense to be heard.

They walk on, rolling dark through the canals, dirty blood seeping all through its veins. Pulsing, talking in their private way. Through the hole, nothing shakes the surface of the waters. Silent ripples resound. The city becomes a blur.

A hole claims the image; a familiar, fading footprint swallowing the velvet medium as it plunges into the sky.

I am a writer and missionary living and working in South Carolina.

Motivation: A searing nostalgia for the past.

Click the pics to meet the members!


Email TSJ: Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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