Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights


by Ariel Whitworth

Last night, I did not tell you that I loved you, knowing you did not feel the same.

Instead, I waited until you were asleep and whispered it to your ears, your neck, your belly, your ten toes. I moved my lips in the air, forming letters, oppressing sound. My lips like an orchestra's conductor, muting a symphony with a tremor and a close.

Instead, I spoke through my fingertips as your hand gripped mine, taut, in a nightmare or a dream.

But in my silence I felt a barricade, a wall of fire hoses, pointed, surging at my throat, stuffing my words deep into my belly. My belly accepting them like stale food, rancid, rotten, resisting, retching with every twist and churn.

I spit them up this morning.

"I love you," I said.

And you looked up in silence. No words. Then, "You're cute. Let's make breakfast."

And I, glad to be free of those words, found myself hungry again, for anything you were willing to give.

Ariel Whitworth is a writer and editor, and a student of Chinese medicine. She lives in San Diego, CA.

Twenty-eighth Flash

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