Twelve Micros
Joseph Young

(18 words)

She said, You look thin.

To what question she addressed, he—his red sweater on the bright day—couldn’t guess.

* * *

(41 words)

Afterward, her eyes started sharding the light, the view from the front door a modern cathedral. That dog is 47 types of brown, she told her husband. His forehead broke into 21 worries, though perhaps he only studied the faultless ceiling.

* * *

(36 words)

She sat flipping among his book, fingers glasslike on the pages. Funny then when she was cut, spattering blood on the girls’ varsity squad. Have a great summer! it said, arrow inked up the center’s skirt.

* * *

(42 words)

The bridge was broken, just a causeway for squirrels, though underneath girls made promises to boys. She pointed them out, named them by their best feature—hair or eyes or breasts. A year ago, this time on open water, he’d named her too.

* * *

(34 words)

Here, he said, setting a quarter on the back of her hand. The coin was aglow, having spent winter under the ice out front. She touched the ribbon of its hair, the tropic motto.

* * *

(36 words )

There seemed to be impossible things, crossing the sidewalk, adjusting the birds, the smoke from a concrete pipe. He had a valve that was wrong, perched whitely among the viscera. He tried small and smaller tries.

* * *

(20 words)

There is a price. It’s on the back. If you turn it around you’ll see. It isn’t expensive. Everything’s okay.

* * *

(33 words)

It was rock bared by rain. Here, she said, indicating a slot of the thinnest soil. Do we sleep here? The red valley, like the draft of her hip, startled him from below.

* * *

Menlo Park
(34 words)

He gave her the light bulb, the glass gone pink over the years. I can drop it? she said. He nodded, and she held her hand from the window, the traffic moving stories below.

* * *

(31 words)

If I were to die …, she said. She left it at that, measuring the table with her arm, ribs to fingertip. He considered that future: like tall grass never stopping waving.

* * *

(37 words)

The wall had 4 switches in some arrangement of off and on, a single light. Click! she said. From the dark, she laughed. Click! she said again, but there was just black, in some arrangement of silver.

* * *

(47 words)

She crowded it, hawking its colors, lengths. It’s awful, she said. How bad it is is tragic. It was a tower of cups and strings, motherboard, throat of a large bird. He stood in the ozone of her disgust. He took her mouth, kissed it, held it.

I think I like to write microfiction most of all because of its pliability, its portability. You can carry it anywhere and it fits together with so many other things so well. It’s a visual language and a sonic one too. It’s a story, space and sound, dense and transparent.

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