The aurochs of Lascaux cave or the ghosts of Hiroshima or the figures of Basquiat are records on soot greased walls, and likewise the poems I have no choice but to write, if what I write are poems, allow the elderly to whom I deliver meals to live into the inanimate galaxy like the magic of snow and moon. But as happens it is early spring, and I park my delivery truck on a viaduct over a stream and listen to the stony bottom rearrange itself. I am awake this one quick second and remember a smile of Mrs. Hutchinson’s eyes within a face too heavy with age to be lifted at the corners of her mouth. I exhale the time I do not have anymore, and happy or miserable, nothing or something, the peace within me cannot exist if even minimally molested, and molestation includes being put to words. Like greenness or a silver runnel, it cannot be grasped. Contentment is ostentation, so indelicate; the heat of it evaporates itself. Down the road is a post office named Hope, Rhode Island, but there is no real town by that name, it is just a post office building and a box. With little or no traffic on this bridge I climb out the door and circle the truck and observe yellow jackets entering and exiting a nest they have made inside a steel guardrail over the water. They squeeze their fat behinds into this safe place. If I can get myself unstuck from thoughts of never and forever, I might be able to stand rightly on my own feet here without need of hope be it a town or a state. My nest is ephemeral where I arrive tired and full of piss.


Flash Fiction by Stephen Young

Stephen Young is a poet living in Providence, RI. Now retired, he writes poetry and volunteers at his local food bank. He received his BA from Lafayette College in 1979 and his MA in Creative Writing from NYU in 1985. His poems have appeared in Third Wednesday and Literary Mama.