Saturday 15 June 2024

'I Meet Myself Coming Back' by Rosaleen Lynch

I meet myself coming back from the butcher. I’m running, but I’m walking back. There’s blood and burn marks on my white sleeves and fists as I run, but my bare arms and clean hands swing two white plastic bags of meat for a barbecue, as I walk.

The first time I meet myself coming back, it’s with you. We’re laughing and you don’t see me on the other side of the crossing, but I do. The doppelgänger effect, I guess, and you kiss me and I forget, and then I’m gone. I mean, who hasn’t seen themselves when they least expect it?

This time I stop in front of myself and see me see the blood, and try to swerve out of my way, but the bags lean me wide on the turn and I’m off the side-walk, as a bag drops on the road and I grab my nearest hand, pull myself out of the path of a car and my reflex is to hold the bloody hand that grasps mine, drop the other bag, and pull myself up back on the side-walk and look at myself, me to me, as cars pancake the bags of meat on the road, turning the white plastic pink, blood oozing out, like the stomach lining of roadkill that’s burst.

I ask myself if this is how I’m supposed to die? I laugh at myself, sit down beside myself on the curb, watch cars mash meat into the tarmac, and the white plastic bags merge with the wet paper round the meat, and sometimes a white handle lifts in the draft and snaps and ask myself if I should go home, and I hold out my bloodied shirt sleeves with the burnt cuffs and ask myself, what can I come back from?


Rosaleen Lynch, is an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London with words in journals including New Flash Fiction Review, HAD, Fractured Lit, Craft, SmokeLong Quarterly, Jellyfish Review, EllipsisZine, Mslexia, Litro and Fish, and has been shortlisted by Edinburgh, Quiet Man Dave, Bath and the Bridport Prizes, is a winner of the HISSAC and the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize, has work selected for the Wigleaf Top 50 2023 and has a collection/workbook 52 Stories: A Toolkit for Readers and Writers, forthcoming from Adhoc Fiction and can be found on

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