Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Forced Watch

by Barbara Shine

Mom's fingers have forgotten the piano keys; her feet no longer love a polka beat. She writes invisible lists with a fork and eats string beans with her hands. When she sniffles I hand over a tissue, which she folds into quarters and tucks under a sleeve while her nose drips unchecked. Mom seldom complains, but neither does she sing. Her pale blue eyes, faded from the deep, piercing, chocolate brown of young motherhood, seem free of worry, but they are likewise devoid of joy.

I'm helpless while a sculptor I cannot see or dissuade chisels away the sharp corners and tender bulges that made my mother unique. Her features and personality, even her voice, tend toward the smooth sameness of her nursing-home peersójust one egg among a crateful. Yet, whoever remains when the sculpting is done, I must find a way to single her out and to love her more than ever.

Barbara Shine is a freelance writer and workshop leader in Virginia's rural Northern Neck region. To reach her, visit www.bshinewrites.com.

Sixth Flash

Writer Garb by Kat Meads
360 Degrees Of Failure by Kathleen Lynch
Over Easy by Carol Howard
Seeing Friends by Paula K. Speck
Not This Time by Cristie Marcus
Found by Kim Mallin
Love Tycoon by Kim Bromley
Willy's by Larry Maxcy
Spinning by Robert Kostuck
Verbal Burnouts Big Time! by Phylis Ann Warady

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