Saturday, 18 June 2022

Debut Flash: 'The Flight of Swallows' by Sher Ting

The swallows are leaving home for the summer. The trail of wings unspooling a thread of questions to their former nest: How are you doing? Have you been well? Solitude is every answer denied a table, a heart closing into a fist. Distance exposes the strangers in our conversation. How you make the habit of thumping your chest three times to clear the wetness in your throat before you speak. How you skim across certain words like a pebble skinning an ocean. Since young, I had liked writing as , believing that was a rising phoenix till it had its wings clipped that made it a singular boring entity. You tell me Aunt Lee’s son graduated college, how Auntie Joan left her keys at the laundromat again. Useless facts make you feel important somehow. Give you a reason to call. Like we are age 13, sifting sand in the backyard to exhume gold. Age 30, trying to recall that one song we were arguing to that one time on the radio when travelling to Disneyland. Because every truth was a thing unspoken, every unspoken thing was our own four-letter word. When I said “Shit, I love you”, you told me not to say that word, and I asked you which one? Naked telephone lines, brittle cords. How easily they break under the weight of our pauses. Yet, in the maddening silence, even the last bird of the flock looks back when he leaves. Just as even a hatchling recognises the face of its mother, I come back to you. In my mind, sometimes. Under the splintering clouds, the sky brilliant as a thimble, I thump my chest three times and hope that somewhere, you’re doing the same.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful write. So full, complete. Such tight language. Left me with a little ache in my chest too. Amazing.

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FlashFloods 2022 Best Small Fictions Nominations

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