by Meg Pokrass
“The best stories you usually hear are stories
that people feel some type of urgency about.”
You remember when you lived in Florida briefly, walking to the store with your husband in the middle of the night. You remember the sound of alligators crooning like deranged, nocturnal cows, all the way to the Seven-Eleven, from each side of the highway. You remember thinking that they must regularly sing to people on their way to the Seven-Eleven, mostly a welcome sound, because there is a three-hour walk there, and a three-hour walk home, and the night sky is so velvety in the summer, and the singing alligators are like jazz. It’s like you’re in a jazz club, but walking outside.
Walking to the Seven-Eleven, what you sometimes want is to never actually get there. Because you are holding hands, feeling his warm, fine skin. He has not yet had his dose of whiskey and his breath has not yet become thick as a mushroom cloud. You have not yet said you have a migraine, and that you don’t really feel like snuggling because your body is so sweaty after the six-hour walk. You have not yet cried or threatened to leave and you have not yet been quieted by your husband with his body half asleep and given up the fight.
You remember that your walk to the Seven-Eleven is glorious, you are both present but so quiet, the two of you loving the sound of strange overgrown creatures who are so close to you, but attached to their watery homes. Sometimes you can imagine these animals are chasing you and your husband all the way to the Seven-Eleven, but mostly you just think of them there in the dark, without alcohol and probably without love.
First published in Atticus Review.
Meg Pokrass is the author of four collections and one award winning book of prose poetry. Her books include Damn Sure Right (Press 53, 2011) My Very End of the Universe — Five Mini-Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form (Rose Metal Press, 2014), Bird Envy (2014), Cellulose Pajamas (Blue Light Book Award winner, 2016)) and The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down (Etruscan Press, 2016). Her stories and poems have appeared and are forthcoming in over 250 literary magazines including Five Points, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Gigantic, Great Jones Street, Matchbook, Newfound, New World Writing, Bayou, Rattle, 100-Word Story, Wigleaf, Green Mountains Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Talking Writing, Every Writer’s Resource, The Rumpus, Failbetter, storySouth, decomP, Flash Magazine, and two Norton anthologies: New Microfiction (W.W. Norton, 2018) and Flash Fiction International (W.W. Norton, 2015). Showcased by Adweek and Galleycat/Media Bistro as “Digital Author to Watch”, she is considered an innovator in the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms for writers. Meg serves as an international writing competition judge, Fiction Curator for the innovative Great Jones Street App, and Festival Curator for the new The Bath Flash Fiction Festival.