Adagietto for String Section and Solo Harp by Steven John

We’re numb from bed heat. Rippled skin from storm-torn sheets, with the scent of animal, rut stained. We’re ship-wrecked. Shot foxes with hollowed out faces. Ferrets slithering from the burrow.

Shattered plates on the carpet—collateral damage from the tango that swept table space for body parts, which we ate like cannibals. Naked, febrile from the kill and kill, we squeeze teabags in mugs and infuse the moment in hushed sentences.

Under steaming water we swim our hands in each other, then dress and grieve the covering of addictive fruit. We wanted more. With your head on my lap I scoop your tears in the crook of my finger and drink them. You say you’re not crying. We listen to Mahler and hear the darkness of passing cars. Lights descend from the purple sky. We drive to the airport to watch planes and whisper names of countries.


Steven John lives in The Cotswolds, UK, where he writes short stories and poetry. He’s had work published in pamphlets and online magazines including Riggwelter, Spelk Fiction, Fictive Dream and Cabinet of Heed. He has won Bath Ad Hoc Fiction a record six times and was highly commended in 2018 ‘To Hull and Back’ competition. Steven has read at Stroud Short Stories, Cheltenham poetry Festival Fringe and The Writer’s Room on Corinium Radio. He is Associate Editor at New Flash Fiction Review.

Vintage photo of a man's legs touching a woman's legs
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