Aphelion Issue 283, Volume 27
May 2023
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

The Incredible Disappearance of The Battered Child

by Stephen A. Rozwenc

Easing to punch drunk drowsiness,
The tiny boy crawls, knee to elbow,
Stair by stair, to his bedroom
That is dark and safe.

He raises a punished leg and mounts
The bed white subterranean cliff
Where baby crabs who sass their parents
Are not beaten
By giant bulldozers.

As he cuddles himself beneath mothering
Blankets of billowing white sea
That hug him
The tender undertow
Of pure white sheets
Pulls him back in deep
Deep to the seaweed cities
Of his first life
And its love that will never betray him.

Wise as wounded anemone,
His bruised shielding hands burn,
Wildly overdosed with hopes.
Now his first flippers,
They slowly steal down
Between the eerily hushed pillows
Of weird adult conversation
And pray like gods
For the right to speak.

Flukes that used to be broken feet
Arch fetal to the regrown sonar bone
Swollen in the center of his forehead.
Shoot flirted turquoise
And yellow angel fish.
Happy as lost memories
His arced body pumps
To the pure unconsciousness
Of everything forbidden as love.

There in palpitating shadows
He pries open the trap door
To the other side of the universe
And disappears through the door
In a flood of stars.

© 2023 Stephen A. Rozwenc

Stephen A. Rozwenc is an American expat poet who lives in Thailand. He has published five collections of poetry. In the last twelve years more than 250 of his poems have appeared in print journals and online venues in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He is the first poet in the history of American literature to publish all of his work after the age of 65. He has also published a collection of translations of famous Russian poets. For further information and samples of his published work as well as Youtube presentations, Google search Stephen A. Rozwenc poetry.

Find more by Stephen A. Rozwenc in the Author Index.