Death is rarely timed to match the logical end of something else. My father died in December, but my mother died in January. When death comes it brings its own end zone, its own subsiding smile. My thoughts on this subject fail to get any farther. The phone rings and when I answer I hear the usual hisses and clicks. Only machines call these days. I believe they are in love with me but I reject them, hanging up before a recorded voice can beg me to stay on the line. My reflection in the kitchen window is deceptive. I look like a man talking on a telephone, presumably to another human being. If I grin, throw my head back with a knowing laugh or stick a finger in my uncovered ear as if I’m blocking out electronic dance music or loud conversation, an observer would be completely fooled. I play at this game for several minutes, listening to the random noise in an animated way. The wind increases and like a poltergeist pelts the house with icy pebbles. A red-ribboned Christmas wreath wheels down the middle of the street, as if escaping.
Fred Muratori’s prose poems and flash fiction have appeared previously in NFFR, as well as in Hotel Amerika, The Saint Ann’s Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Inch and others. The latest of his three published poetry collections is A Civilization, issued by Dos Madres Press in 2014. He lives and works in Ithaca, NY.