Aphelion Issue 279, Volume 26
December 2022/January 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page


by Andrew Kolarik

The form. That malleable, plastic form.
From soft underbelly to sharpened, mullioned carapace. By design,
smoothly alluring, flexing silver skin. Harden, bed down, hunker down, scuttle in the burrow.
Soft-shelled, with jewelled claw, a dweller in the pines.

I was a miner below ground. I scurried in the temple depths.
I fashioned the workings,
where the cracked, parched earth on the plain laps up every drop of water.
I bathed in molten flame, in sulphur springs.

I was a stevedore, pulling freight, under boiling, purple, striated clouds.
I worked the snows, the hard ground. Clearing, always clearing. Always too brief a season.
Then back to the high lodge, to repair the damage done.
Beneath falling leaves, your body sharp, iridescent. Your touch liquid and searing.

Preening in the penitentiary, I walked the gangways, patrolled the yard.
While ligaments stretched, muscles hardened, I wanted you to see me.
In a way that you cannot see him, unfettered and extreme. Not a ghost,
but the real thing. The surface reworked and gleaming.

I've changed the form in every way I can, and what is fundamental stays.
The splinter is now the centre, and it won't decay, overlap or submerge.
the core remains, embedded. The core remains.
That hateful core, that keeps you from me.

© 2022 Andrew Kolarik

Hailing from Croydon, Andrew Kolarik spent ten years writing post-punk lyrics for live performance in London and Cardiff. He has written poetry, short fiction and film criticism appearing in a number of publications including Utopia Science Fiction Magazine, Down in the Dirt, Carillon, Pulp Metal Magazine, Supernatural Tales, Eunoia Review, Horla and Yellow Mama.

Find more by Andrew Kolarik in the Author Index.