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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Micro-Fiction: 377 words
By Meg Pokrass

Final Patient

 

Something in his eyes made me think of the gay men in New York I had wanted to sleep with. Their memories like souvenirs, years being naive.

“I’m going to fold you into the sad stories of my life,” I told the doctor.

This one was straight, but old, and just as unreachable.

“I think you already have,” he said.

“By the way, who’s gonna drive you home?” he asked. “I think you’ve had too much to drink.”

“Maybe I’ll need to be driven...”

We met every weekend for beer at the nearby bar. He made me laugh and I made him laugh and we’d leave it at that. His wife was dying. My husband was already dead, at least to me. Beer seemed like a solid plan. When we got buzzed, the doctor would walk me home. He called it driving me.

“I want you to know that without this weekend event, I’d probably be clinically depressed,” said the doctor.

“Yes, me too,” I said. “Are we flirting with each other, do you think?”

“Yes, we definitely are,” he said.

I met the doctor after a Segway ran over my foot and broke it in three places. I met the doctor when the foot refused to heal. He was getting ready to retire, and I was the last “new patient” he took.

He made me promise to recover completely before the year ended. “Otherwise, I can’t help you,” he said.

One night, after beer, I wanted to kiss the doctor. We were standing in front of my mailbox and the moon was fullish. I stood on my toes, expecting him to embrace me. He took my hand with his fingers. “This helps,” he said. “So now, can I kiss you?” I said. “No,” he said. “That’s not going to help at all.”

I have dreams about the doctor’s lips. In one dream, I am inching my way around them like an earthworm. My fingers are dancing from his upper lip to lower, feeling how sad he is. In this dream his sweet, careful tongue pokes out of his lips, touches my fingertips. “Fine,” he says. His tongue is warm. My fingers are salty. This is how it feels to be loved inside a dream.

Meg Pokrass
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of five collections of flash fiction, a novella-in-flash from Rose Metal Press, and an award-winning collection of prose poetry, Cellulose Pajamas (2014 Blue Light Poetry Prize). Forthcoming books include a novella-in-flash, The Smell of Good Luck (to be published in 2019 by Flash: The International Short Short Story Press), and a collection of microfiction, The Sadness of Night Bugs (Pelekinesis Press).

Her writing has been widely anthologized, most recently in The Best Small Fictions 2018, edited by Aimee Bender (Braddock Avenue Books); in two Norton anthologies of flash fiction, Flash Fiction International (2015) and New Micro (2018); and in Nothing Short Of 100, Flash Non-Fiction Funny, and Flash Fiction Funny. Her work has appeared in 350 literary magazines, both online and in print, including Electric Literature, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Five Points, Smokelong Quarterly, and Tupelo Review.

Meg is the Founding/Managing Editor of New Flash Fiction Review and currently serves as Flash Challenge Editor at Mslexia Magazine, Festival Curator for Flash Fiction Festival UK, and Co-Editor of Best Microfiction. She also teaches ongoing flash-fiction workshops, both online and in person, in the U.K. and Ireland. Find out more about her teaching at: http://megpokrass.com/.

Follow Meg on Twitter: [at]megpokrass

 
 
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