Saturday 25 June 2016

Evensong by Jan Elman Stout

His chin begs to rest on his breastbone. Stand up straight, she tells him, her warm palm reciting the bones of his spine. He snaps to attention. She wants him to conjure the tall pines, unfettered by sharp wind and sheeted rain. He is too stiff to dance.

She closes her eyes as a cool breeze bends the trees. Tiny pinecones tap tap tap knotted roots that peek through silted ground, rolling until bedded needles enshroud them. The pines now whisper to her alone.

When they were young his smooth, firm hand encompassed hers and they circumnavigated the planets.

He lumbers, a primeval tortoise no longer scenting the woods. He remembers their names: Korean Pine, White Spruce, Alpine Fir. But he cannot remember their tune. She is merciful, in turns, and gives him her hand.

Together they dreamed of the sea and fallow meadows and charted apricot moons.

I dream they call to me from the distance, their cries echoing a path until I find them. Clasping their hands, I lift them high above piney peaks, past the sickle moon, ahead of the dimming sky. Together, as one, we tinker with the stars and kiss goodbye.


  1. Anne and Caroline, thank you both so much! XO

    1. Ha…Anne and Caroline, somehow posted my thanks to you in Jan's comments. But I agree that Jan's story is beautiful!

  2. This is so lovely, Jan. I love it when you let your lyrical side show.

  3. Love the specificity of this piece!!

  4. Jan, your writing is absolute beautiful language. Your writing is stunning. Love!!

  5. Jan, your writing is absolute beautiful language. Your writing is stunning. Love!!

  6. What a poet you are. This reads like a holy prayer. I ADORE the last two lines. And "reciting the bones". Stunning language and images here!


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We are delighted to nominate the following 2023 FlashFlood stories to the Best Small Fictions Anthology: ' I Once Swallowed a Rollercoas...