An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
The angel waded into the river. We didn't expect her to get wet. We thought she'd slide in like
light, untouched by the water, but it dripped off her when she emerged. She lifted her arms, her
wings damp and heavy on her frail back. Her slender body was aging but still beautiful. "Love lasts," she said, "only so long, like the smell of something sweet floating in the air or a song that
grows quiet in the mind, losing its words and then its melody, the notes slowly sinking into
mud." "Who sent you?" we asked. "I'm not a messenger," she said, "though I do have a message." "God sent you," we said. "No," she answered. "But you're an angel." "Yes," she said, "we live among you." She tried to fly, running over the soft ground and leaping repeatedly, but couldn't. Out of breath and tired, she sat on a rock, her head in her hands, tears running down her cheeks. "I've lost it," she said. We laughed. She was one of us, only with wings.
We knocked on the door, but they didn't answer. We knew they were in there. We could feel
their weight against the door, the tension in the wood. There were no whispers, but we could hear
their quiet breathing. Inside, there was a rasp, and the sound of something falling and mice
dashing over the floorboards. We banged on the door and held down the buzzer, still no answer.
We peered through the windows, but the shadows remained motionless. "Come out," we shouted.
"We're willing to talk." We stepped back onto the sidewalk and took in the house. We saw a light upstairs and something might have been moving through one of the rooms. "One more chance," we shouted. We fired our guns until the door fell in, and the window frames were empty. Then we searched through the broken glass and rubble for dead bodies or signs of life, but they had gotten away. Though we knew they were never coming back, we cleaned up the mess and got into position with our guns. We slept in shifts, dreaming fitfully.
Head of State
He erased the trees outside the window and the rain falling into the trees. Nests fell to the ground, eggs cracking. Some birds crashed into the windows; others collided with each other. He erased the windows so he could see clearly, but still there were clouds and smoke so he erased the clouds and smoke. Now there was nothing, but lawn and empty space. He liked it that way; it was all his. Inside, his advisors advised him not to erase too much or there would be nothing left for him to erase. He erased them and got new advisors, who sat in silence while he talked on. He didn't erase his sons and daughter; others would erase them later. His wife had been erased for months, so he left her where she was, without spirit or form, a voice hanging in air. Then he erased her voice, and he could only hear a slight buzzing as if an echo of distant bees. On the monitor of the world, he erased seven "worthless countries," but each country only appeared to be where he located it. He had erased aliases, and then new aliases began appearing floating in the murky water of his screen, multiplying like heated molecules of water knocking against each other while the seven countries floated in the dark just behind the pillars of beams.
Jeff Friedman is from New Hampshire. He is the author of seven previous poetry collections, including Pretenders (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014) and Floating Tales (Plume Editions/MadHat Press, 2017). His poems, mini tales and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Hotel Amerika, SurVision, Flash Fiction Funny, Flash Nonfiction Funny, Fiction International, New World Writing. The New Republic, etc. His newest book, The Marksman, will be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in autumn 2020.