Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights


by Kelley Clink

My brother looped a length of cord around his throat. He died. Thoughts of life, a finite island in a sea of infinity, sucked all the air from my lungs.

As such, I became obsessed with moments.

I joined a photography class so I could catch them in lenses, on squares of silver halide-coated cellulose and paper slicked with gelatin. I stood with strangers in an orange dark, and watched moments swim to surfaces like recalled memories. I told the strangers nothing of my loss—of him, of time. Or maybe I did. Thoughts and words and feelings, the pieces of life not prone to absorbing or reflecting light, slipped beneath the surface of that sea and rose up blank. Frames of unused film, developed.

The strangers and I spoke of what light could stick to: shapes and movement and depth. Together we used light and shadow to craft the picture of the past, to manipulate the memory, to correct all the mistakes we'd made in the moment. I gathered those illusions under glass, hung those corrections up for everyone to see.

I took a picture of myself, a sixtieth of a second pinned like the tissue wings of a butterfly. In the orange dark I watched the moment surface. I was made of grains. A representation of something solid. All reflective bits and pieces.

Kelley Clink lives in Chicago, IL. Her work as appeared in Under the Sun, South Loop Review, flashquake.org, and The Gettysburg Review. She is currently working on a memoir about her brother's suicide, his struggle with bipolar disorder, and her journey through the grief process.

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