Aphelion Issue 268, Volume 25
December 2021
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

The Painting on the Wall

by S. T. Eleu

I stare
at the blank canvas
staring back at me
from within the textured monochrome panel
of a 3’x3’ titanium frame

I stand
in the Gallery of Interastra Art
precisely on the X

wired to chemical sensors

I wait
for the infrared scans
to probe my eyes

I answer
the prompted questions
and await the final analysis
assured that the canvas will truly reflect me

this time

not like those other times
when neurotransmitters betrayed me
and caused the canvas to morph into

wild stallions
in fields of daisies

a symmetrical still life
on the exaggerated forehead of a self-portrait

and my last vacation with…

or those other times
when the planted thoughts of propaganda
caused the canvas to infringe upon the copyrights
of mice, winged men in tights, and mild suburban dysplasia

I anticipate
a much different painting today
now that my shelves have been cleared
now that the home has found its quiet
again                                 without…

I know
that after having
consumed a marathon of Asimov-to-Zelazny lit
traveled to another galaxy
lived as rebel lemming
and recycled every last thing left in the bedroom by…

I am ready to create
a genuinely introspective, original work of art

vertebrae by vertebrae
veracious, without self-redaction, venturous

I jump
when the silver mimetic alloy shoots out onto the frame

chaos in disjointed polygons
dives into acid
burbles then reaches up and swallows the crosshatches
of the armored whose outstretched arms
form scattered manga panels populated by faces
in various states of psychosocial turmoil
with mouths agape in search of…

I hold
my breath when the light flashes yellow
and movement on the canvas slows
to touch ups and signatures
and when it turns red

I smile
for I am pleased at what I see
my mind’s eye captured
and now emerging in print
from beneath a frame

that is once again blank
and requesting

a 25 spot for black and white
50 for full color
100 for dimensional topography

I walk
through the gallery doors
painting in hand
wondering why all art couldn’t be this easy

the painting within

but change and an hour away
from hanging as

the painting on the wall

2021 S. T. Eleu

S. T. Eleu hase been a language arts teacher specializing in bilingual and special education for the past thirty years in the Chicago Public Schools. Currently, they are at a successful K-8 school – Augustus H. Burley – that champions authentic literature and choice in writing.

Find more by S. T. Eleu in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.