Flash Fiction Friday: Nine Ambiguous Cats

Thought I’d mix things up a bit on Fridays and Sundays with the occasional flash fiction / short story to complement the daily poetry posts. This is a fun one from a while back, following a three-word prompt. I’m betting you can guess what one of the three words was!

Nine ambiguous cats looked out over the night from their perch on the low stone wall. Their yellow eyes stared down at the city lights spread out like a child’s Lite Brite, all the gaudy colours of the casinos and X-rated movie parlours mere innocent winking baubles at this distance. The cats’ tails swished in unison. They were silent for a long time, still shadows in deeper darkness. They waited until the full moon had cleared the horizon, and then they began to sing. While the families slept in their cozy suburban nests; while the shift workers grunted and swore over broken machinery in the sheet metal factory; while the night walkers prowled and preened, the cats sang. It was not the usual nails-on-blackboard skirling wail that wakes you up in the middle of the night. It was beautiful, perfect, nine-part harmony. The cats believed, you see, that they were singing the moon across the sky. And perhaps they were right. One never knows about these kind of things.

T.H.

The First Breath of Spring

Photo by Mark A. Harrison

Starting off the first day of National Poetry Month with one that didn’t make it into WTWBT, but feels right for the first day of April, when the snow has receded into only the darkest, coldest corners, the birds are singing non-stop, squirrels are running rampant, and green is sprouting everywhere. But at the same time, in the back of your mind, you know there’s still an ice storm or two on the way before the month is over.

[Original title: Fifteen degrees of February]

When the first breath of spring
catches you up, teases your
heart with false promises,
blushing green peeking from
fresh damp earth, emerging
islands amidst the fast
melting snow; when even
discarded skins of chocolate
bars and dollar store bags
seem to herald new beginnings:
life from destruction, devouring
the old bones, bleeding
ice from the river’s edge.

Even the birds are deceived,
filling the air with distracted chatter,
while free roaming dogs and
preschool children run madly through
the squelching mud, feeling the shift;
and yet, the cynical voice reminds
you that it’s far too soon, winter
won’t let us go that easily.

To hell, you say, with rationality,
and walk faster, as if by
sheer defiance you can escape
the warning howl of the cold
grey clouds, wind pushing you
back into the inevitable grip
of winter.

T.H.

bigger on the inside

MetallicState_byMarkAHarrison_med

Metallic State by Mark A. Harrison

Been thinking about words a lot lately, how they can change from a tool to a weapon, a dirge to a song, a box label to found poetry, depending on how you wield them. This was written a couple of years back, late at night with a cat under one arm, picking words at random from the spines of DVD cases on the bookshelf next to me.

BiggerOnTheInside_byTanahHaney