Thousand

From the shop window, it speaks to me: love and loss, beauty and despair, all caught on a single canvas. A bell jangles as I walk in. “How much for the painting in the window?” I ask. The shopkeeper smiles. “It’s worth what every...

Understudies

Carol’s husband left her for a hairdresser just before her daughter went to camp. “I’m okay,” Carol told May. “I’m fine. Go have fun.” But when May looked out the bus window, her mother was shaking. The camp’s rec room has a box of...

Tuscany

Light flashed on his ruby ring. You make me look handsome, he laughed. I can see why you’re the talk of Florence. Yes, I’d like another portrait. My new young wife.  The new young wife was shy and obedient. She would meet him in...

Snapped

I look at this photo of my soul. It’s blurry, shades of bitterness, anger and disappointment swirl like a vortex. My light no longer shines. I am no one to nobody. I have nothing. I am nothing. The bullet sits there, mocking me, my...

Veils

Norma Desmond and I go way back, trading husbands, settling scores. We’ve always been big. It’s the insults that got small. Hag heads bloom like black holes in your weddings albums, cigarette burns through white bridal sheets. Your cursor hovers over wives you’ve silenced...

Serpent

Weighted by the chains of pride and knowledge he sank into the darkened world to paint his final piece. He poisoned his fellow adepts and the master who had given him the knowledge of sin’s power. He wasn’t like they who allow the current...

Impressions

“This is ridiculous,” he says, squeaking a crayon peevishly across his faceplate. “We’re not risking interstellar crisis for your ego,” I tell him, scrawling some final curls on my own helmet. “The Naur won’t speak to someone without a face. Self-expression is very important.”...

Alone

My love is dead, while I hurtle through space in my tin can made for one, eking out rations in defiant futility. All that remains of her is an unflattering photo, pinned to my console, blurred through a filter of tears. I watched the...

Appropriation

The artist came to town in September. He was quite a celebrity, his work evocative of early Picasso with its dancing shadows and splashes of ethereal light. In the Arts School auditorium students crowded the stage, asking for autographs, offering to pose. She was...

Airbrushed

I stare at the photo. You. Her. Eyes creased in sunlight. Matching smiles. My replacement is young. Beautiful. As flawless as a cover model. Save. Open. Edit. A frenzy of clicks. She may be lovely, but I can make this picture perfect. First her...

Disfigured

This is Lola in black and white. The turtleneck accentuates the sharpness of her birdlike bones while concealing her bruised throat. Here she is in colour with her hair pinned up, minus the shirt. That blotchy discoloration runs ear to ear. A physician informed...

Disappeared

The portrait of my missing wife sits against our bedroom wall. It’s not quite finished yet. “It looks exactly like her,” people say, “before she disappeared.” Whenever she looks unhappy, I’ve painted in things she likes. First, her favorite books. Then, our poodle. People...

The Tram

When I was nine years old, my family lived in a leafy district of Prague; my brother and sister and I went to school nearby. Our mother would chat with the other parents by the school’s metal fence while she waited for our classes...

Revision

Sine over cosine equals tangent. A fly is hitting the window, over and over, by his ear. The square on the hypotenuse is equal … Every time it hits, the buzz-drone jumps. He is staring at the pattern of its tiny marks, and imagining...

505 Streetcar

On Sumach, blinking strings of Christmas lights hung with old twist ties light the cracks in broken windows and split veneer, a half-moon is on its back rocking in the severe cold warning at the edge of the tenements near the misplaced Mercedes Benz...

Great White Shark

Sharks rarely attack people. But, when they do, you don’t want a top-of-the-food-chain great white. The great white will sever your leg in the blink of a cold, black eye. Probably swim off when she realizes her mistake, but life leaps away with the...

Enrique

Secretly, I feel there are two of me. The one you can see is fairly superficial but there’s this other more thoughtful one you can’t. A survival strategy. Since I arrived in the UK from Bogotá six months back I’ve been aware of this...

Terminal

Darkness drops its anchor, spreading like ink. Silence holds me gently as my existence unrolls before me like fragile, ancient parchment. Failures, sins, stains; the pins that track an empty, wasted life. I scream into the void inside me. I rake my nails across...

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