'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Tag: strangeness (Page 3 of 3)

‘Encroachment’, by Mary Marie Dixon

Wedged between sky and river
The birch, plaiting scarred spines, joins
Ochre leaves to Cirrus clouds.

In the wedge of bed and window
Your wounded limbs endure
A throbbing rhythm to misting dew

Autumn wraps a sultry cage
Of alizarin crimson.
She entwines the rising bone

To breach the slough of heaven
Branches thunder and crack
Under heavy snow 

And escape still enclosed in 
Huey blues Your mind warps 
And wraps itself with morphine


‘Chime’, by Marion Michell

Lie in the car, stiff as a bell’s tongue, and just as mute. Pain in aspiration stage – still hoping I’ll hurl myself against walls, eager to chime.

After a blurry episode give looking another go. Burgess Park is not itself right now: tiny, lifeless, the green of grass and foliage moulded in the same garish tones. Clouds, birds, a plastic sun, tacked on a smudge of blue. We too minuscule and stuck mid-move in a scale-model some architect should have improved.

Bed, at long last. Limbs scattered like mikado sticks; palms so painful they seem large as cities. Must have crashed across the continent, one hand throbbing in Reykjavik, the other limp in the Aegean Sea. Each crumple in my sheet a mountain ridge or carved out canyon, nuzzling the gash of me. A chore to breathe.

Days shivering in sleety weather zones. I pine for hot. PEMalaise me not!

This image is a collage of two black and white photographs of a hand. The top half shows palm and slightly bent fingers horizontally, the bottom half vertically. The original was photographed in extreme light against white background, in order to achieve pronounced shadows. The latter appear more curved than the fingers themselves.


  • by Marion Michell

Blog and book: Sublimely Supinely


‘Hagalaz’, by Ruth V. Chalkley

In Lithuanian, runoti means both “to cut (with a knife)” and “to speak”.

      Hail: Hagalaz
      Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.



        Sometimes, some time,



‘The Sick Mother’, by Amy Wray Irish

(after a poem by Jane Kenyon)

The sick mother stayed in the car
During swimming, music, dance.
Not yet fifty,
She had learned the many ways
The able-bodied become just bodies.

Afternoon always came too quick
With its carpools and constant motion.
She was still the secretary
Of details and schedules. 
Still indispensable.

So in between finding the lost
Shoes or suits or permission slips 
And driving– always driving–
She tilted her seat back, tucked
A swim towel or bag beneath her head

And let the pain pill sweep her into freedom.
Free from the other mothers, lips pursed,
Pulling their children away from hollow eyes.
Free from the fathers, eyebrows raised,
Lingering to admire gaunt cheekbones.

Fever-flushed under windshield glass
She is free to dream a storybook self,
And a kiss to break the curse
Of endless doctors, tests, and drugs.
A fairy tale of never being sick again.


– by Amy Wray Irish

To read more see Creation Stories, a book of poetry and art by Amy Wray Irish

‘Focal Signal Intensity Enhancements’, by Maureen Miller

I’m poeming this poem 
from a forest-boreal 
transition zone 

anticipating intense 
public reaction 
to my poem

against the bony mets 
that XXXX up my posture
& infiltrate our nat’l backbone 

its prostate biopsy
analogy lost/inapparent
in the sagamore gloam

this spine unresponsive 
to the pre-patent analog 
that is my poem


  • by Maureen Miller
  • doctorwritermaureenmiller.tumblr.com

[This poem was inspired by an ad for a medical conference, “Summer Radiology Symposium at the Sagamore,” at an upstate New York retreat for Gilded Age millionaires. I found out about it while previewing prostate biopsies for a surgical pathology service. We don’t see the pain except in tissue core numbers. Who that’s most unfair to is the subject. Readers may decide.]

‘The exorcism of Spasmodic Torticollis’, by Holly Hirst

‘This is my best exorcist impression,’ I tell you with a grimacing grin.

I tell you it’s a horror movie to make you laugh. So that you can laugh at the girl controlled by demons. As her head turns full circle on her neck. As her smile screams with silent blasphemy. Because if you don’t laugh, you turn away. You’ll never follow Karras through the window. You’ll turn and walk downstairs, sit with Chris and hope it goes away.


  • by Holly Hirst


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