Monday, November 3, 2014

Flash Fiction by Joan McNerney

Where the Lost Gather

"Maintain your perspective just keep going" she thought while waiting for the bus.  The sky resembled an ink blotter drenched in grey and black.  People trekked along avenues attempting to cross over mounds of snow.  Teenagers ganged up huddling under broad awnings.  Their brightly colored jackets spread like rainbow clusters against brick buildings.  She twitched her umbrella awkwardly, its handle was cold.  Where were her gloves?  Would the bus ever come?

Stepping off the curb twisting her head fidgeting . . . "Stay optimistic.  Be brave.  Everything will work out eventually."  The familiar tape played over and over in her brain.  Another appointment, another pill pusher . . . another doctor as healthy as a horse.  How could he possibly understand?  Always the same questions.  What about her habits . . . smoking, drinking, taking street drugs, having an active sex life?  Was she anxious, depressed?  Prying into her life then offering no solutions.  A waste of money with so little cash left.  And a waste of time.  But time stood still now. . . heavy hours pressing down crushing her.

The doctor's office needed a paint job.  There was no coat closet or water fountain.  An old magazine minus its cover curled up next to the lamp.  Lorraine wished she had brought her crossword puzzle.  Increasingly annoyed by the long wait, she realized her turn was hours away.  Looking over the other patients, wondering what was wrong with them.  Finally the doctor had time to see her to listen to complaints about fatigue, shortness of breath, being dizzy.  Promising to run some tests, he left.  A nurse entered to draw her blood filling three vials with a long needle.  The results would be available next week.  Handing her check to the receptionist, that was that.

It was so great to get home, she felt so free, so happy after leaving the oppression of the doctor's office.  Home now:  beating a retreat under lumpy bedclothes where several paperbacks and her eyeglasses were hidden.

Many pages later windowpanes clatter like nervous teeth.  Zillions of icicles etch fine line portraits of frost.  Snow fell and kept falling.  Unleashed . . . storms overtake darkness . . . making all mute.  A storm of light covers the night as she slid to sleep.  Dream sliding to a house of mirrors where countless images surrounded her.  Where is she?  Reflections without number repeat her every gesture.  Somehow she must look for her real self.  Sifting within these icy sheets of glass, suddenly all her fingers began to burn.

Joan McNerney's poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon, Blueline, Vine Leaves, Spectrum, three Bright Hills Press Anthologies and several Kind of a Hurricane Press Publications.  Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net.  Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses.  Three ebooks have also been produced.