Desperate Islands Are Ours by Cheryl Anne Gardner

I find you, sitting in a piazza at a café table, alone, a dusky bowl of prime opaque in front of you, served with a side of sticky bacon and gin. “Soon,” you say to me, but you always say soon when I’m late, so I tap my foot and wait while squids serenade us from a balcony above; then after a brief violin concerto and a careless “Thank you mister” to God for all the small matters he’s chosen to ignore, we ride raindrops on eucalyptus dust, lace handkerchiefs crumpled in our pockets. I only fear you when you’re near me. I want to tell you that, but just then, the waiter arrives with a stone tablet. You pay the bill with a fist full of coin and ask if the pharmacy’s open all night. It is, so you make mental notes in time and shadow while walking behind me in irritation as I foretell the future in condescending rivulets, my rubber boots flip, flap, flopping against a sunset that isn’t ours . . . and never will be.

When she isn’t writing, Cheryl Anne Gardner likes to chase marbles on a glass floor, eat lint, play with sharp objects, and make taxidermy dioramas with dead flies. She writes art-house novellas and abstract flash fiction, some published, some not.

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