Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
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Flash Writing Challenge
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Out Of Africa

by David Barber

Africa taught us the hard way
to heed the rustle in the grass
and the shadow in the trees;

that sticks impersonating snakes
were ninety-nine times better
than the once it struck;

only the survivors knew this.
When the old ones left their flesh behind
the mystery of it seized us

and we were the first to see the living land
and the moon in its habits
and the wind shivering on the water;

and the lack of rain or game
or the return of rain or game
hinted at meanings

until there was no cloud
without a face, no happening
that did not become a sign.

Difficult now to see
that things are only things,
lives are only lives

as the heavens run rings around us,
and constellations crowd the skies
demanding to tell tales.

© 2011 David Barber

Find more by David Barber in the Author Index.

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