Punctuation

Flash
Andrew S. Taylor


Your face is always the same sentence, but the punctuation keeps changing. Around your eyes and mouth, quotation marks appear, like weather patterns of localized irony. Above the bridge of your nose, sometimes I find ellipses, and other times marks of exclamation. Your chin changes with the light: a stately period by day, a protective parenthesis by night. Your ears, those elevations of mysterious scripture between the warm sandstone of your cheek and the long fall of your hair, at most times take the form of semicolons, though when I am closest to them they are more like the start of a musical staff: treble clef, bass clef, treble clef again.

But now, during combat, there is nothing to read on your face, only mathematics. The commas no longer rest at the edges of your lips like tiny embryos. The familiar words still come screaming, always the same words in the same order, but thrust between them are endless signs of operation. Your face, my favorite message, hovers above me, drawn and quartered.
pencil

Andrew S. Taylor’s new novella “Swamp Angels” appears in the anthology Needles & Bones, recently published by Drollerie Press. His fiction has also appeared in Pindeldyboz, Thieves Jargon, Mud Luscious, Word Riot, Menda City Review, Monkeybicycle, Underground Voices, Mad Hatter’s Review, The Cafe Irreal, Ellery Queen, decomP, and The Dream People. He lives in Brooklyn, NYC. His blog is Fables and Riddles.
E-mail: ribaldry[at]earthlink.net

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