Showing posts from September, 2018

Dyspnea by Salvatore Difalco

I had thin arms as a boy. When I was about 11, I started doing biceps curls with a wooden beam in my father’s workshop. It weighed maybe ten or so pounds. I did hundreds of curls with that beam, hundreds. I did so many curls with the beam it became too light to give me a pump. So I added some weight to the beam, in the form of two stout salamis that my mother was curing in the cantina. They weighed a couple of pounds each and I tied them to opposite ends of the beam for balance. This worked. The added weight guaranteed that I got a pump when I did my curls. This was before barbells became a commonplace. Eventually, two salamis added to the beam were not enough. I had to add two more. My skinny, weakling arms were filling out and hardening into serious pipes. I started wearing tank tops and my little friends made comments about my arms. Look at his arms, would ya! They’re like Steve Reeves’! They’re like Popeye’s! Of course Popeye had huge forearms, but his biceps

A fragment of Memoir: Jemima by Barnard Browne

Jemima occupied a box in my father’s study. It had once contained an Xpelair fan. The cardboard was quite thick with copper staples to keep it together. The texture set my teeth on edge. Perhaps that’s how they made cardboard in 1962. Jemima terrified me. She was about twenty years old compared to my five but I was taller. She walked at night. I could see her through the bed clothes that I drew up around my head for protection.  Her method of locomotion was necessarily unconventional. She had been decapitated and buried with a few pots of Roman provenance by the side of the ancient trackway that passed the front of our house.  Her skull was found between her knees, as if she was looking for her missing feet. In my imagination she walked with her skull perched directly on her pelvis.  Close by is the church of St Michael and all Angels, its name and unusual north-south alignment hinting at a pre-Christian foundation. The church was in the care of my father, the Rector. Stone ha

Fishing for Compliments by Ellie Sparks

Your rod hung In lonely air, Extending further and Further. A seagull flew into it; Snapped it straight in Half. I thought you'd pursue Another hobby.  You sat upon freezing Pebbles, Weeping salt water. by Ellie Sparks