Love that bends to prepare us for the break. Swaying love. I’m-gonna-lose-it love. A nest, but no bird, cupped in small hands. Love that tickles before it bleeds. The night before the morning after. Lightning-flash love, with thunder and rain. Wet clothes wicking sweat away from skin.
John Minichillo is one of my favorite people, which is how it should be if he’s going to sleep in my bed. One of my favorite things he’s ever written is “The Love Koan,” a kind of flash fiction poem about different types of love.
When I first read the piece, it astounded me how much he understood about love. He doesn’t say anything about love in sentences, though; his choice to speak in phrases is perfect. Declarations make love cranky sometimes, and questions make love nervous. He describes love in the purest way, and it’s the way I’ve chosen to describe the stories here in Atticus Review’s first ever all-flash issue.
“Shoelaces” by Barry Basden: Cold love. Love that shouldn’t still matter but does. Unrequited, but perhaps once requited love. One lover taking it all on, and for what? One lover holding it together, ready to leave. One coming undone, like the lace of a shoe that’s been treated carelessly. Over and under, around and through, tie-it-tight, done love.
“Paper Lungs” by Lauren Tamraz– Love unfolding, steadily, heartily, bodily. “I” love that should be “We” love. Love that loves more than it should. Imagined love, wished love. Love’s inevitable loss. Love that looks away. Love that can’t help but look. Love that knows. Love that notices. Fragile love, paper-thin and wet. A series of small thin figures, folding and unfolding. Paper people love, joined loosely, brittle as bone.
“Citric Acid for Borsch” by Valery Petrovsky – Russian tongue love. An ear listening for a love that comes upstairs. Love that laps at soup and leaps from branches. Dressing-to-leave love. Love that is not ordinary, but it is; it is. No it is not. Love that lets it happen. Love that lingers alongside other love. This love, it is a choice. Love has no choice. Olive love. Olive you. Don’t leave me, but do. Love’s season. Thursday love.
“Fugue No. 1” by Simon Kearns – Chased love. Chaste love. Let-yourself-be-caught love. Love as a song, a movement. Love leaping through air and laughing. A story, their story, ours. Call and answer. Is this love? Exhausted love, from running. Love is away (I would follow you). There is no away.
Photo by Muffet