Three Tide Pools: A Triptych by Robert Vaughan

A. 7.25 x 12

Laundry flutters against the slack breeze. Bumblebees bombard gooseberry bushes. We maneuver the broken fence. Lay naked in their kiddie pool, bodies pretzel-like, jagged. Listen to VanHalen. Waterlogged. Clueless when they’ll return from Mexico. My mom fucks your dad and it singes like hot asphalt.

B. 8.5 x 12

Tonight I went to the pool hall. Jimmy Lee and Stork are there. I forget how Stork got his name cause his real one is Lem. Not on account of a wooden leg, or sleeping funny, or the size of his pecker. Just can’t remember. But he can shoot pool with the best in the joint. And Jimmy Lee, well, he’s as slick as the name sounds.

When I get home I glance at the kitchen clock: after 3.

The wife screams, “You stink like smoke and booze.” Her hair sticks out like stalactites. “Do you know what time it is? Doesn’t that place close at 2?”

“Shush,” I whisper, “you’ll wake the kids.” I try to remove my shoes and socks while standing, but fall backwards against the wall.

“You’re pathetic,” she spits, roiling down the hall.

The truth is we’ve been this way for so long, I think I believe her.

C. 9.75 x 12

She chronicles the dead on her Facebook page like a newspaper might: each designate marked with a R.I.P. personalized remark. He posts the baby’s photos in bassinettes, bows, bundles of joy on Twitter, each coo and cuddle calculated

Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing, poetry, fiction at locations like Red Oak Writing, The Clearing, Synergia Ranch, Mabel Dodge Luhan House. He leads roundtables in Milwaukee, WI. He was a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction (2013, 2014). He was the head judge for the Bath International Flash Fiction Awards, 2016. His flash fiction, ‘A Box’ was selected for Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press).  He is the Editor-in-Chief at Bending Genres, LLC. 

Vaughan is the author of five books: Microtones(Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs+ Triptychs +Lipsticks + Dipshits(Deadly Chaps); Addicts & BasementsRIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press) and FUNHOUSE(Unknown Press). His blog:

Share This