Prime Numbers

Melissa J. Lytton
Jul 19, 2017 · 2 min read

I am two and there is a whale in the sky. It doesn’t make any noise, but every time it eats a star, all the big people scream together, like mice.

I am three and we live in the desert. Crawling on bellies to a new home. A flat place full of snakes.

I am five and we live in the ice. I wake up with blue toes every morning. If I can’t feel the ground, how will I grow taller?

I am seven and we live in a b-u-i-l-d-i-n-g. The floor is smooth and cold like home. No crawling allowed, little missy.

I am seven and I am choosing the wrong side, damnit! What’s wrong with you? She’s just a kid. They’ll tear her to pieces like crumbling salt.

I am seven. I got to see a flower today. No one is happy. The aliens like flowers too. Their bodies smell like earth.

I am not eight. I will never be eight. I am seven, I am seven, I am sevensevensevenseven and I want to see the flower again.

No one is happy here.

The aliens like my flower.

I am twenty-three. I will give you all my flowers for a different kind of green. There are no more stars to eat and the snakes are all dead. My toes still burn at night when he warms them up. Blood will always betray you like that.

All my flowers for your last star.

I am eight and there is a whale in the sky.

I am twenty-nine and there are no more stars to eat.

All the grown-ups scream together.

Blind mice on a battlefield.

— — — — — — —

Originally published in Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers (Spider Road Press, 2014). Full anthology available on Amazon.

Melissa J. Lytton

Written by

Writer, spoken word performer, and graphic artist specializing in speculative fiction and feminist poetry. Free novel excerpts at

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