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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Micro-Fiction: 187 words
By Lisa Shulman

Where Were You Last Night?


It was the one question I dreaded you asking. There were too many answers. What could I say?

I drove to the coast on roads writhing like black snakes, and thought of you.

I stood on the cliffs above the Pacific, watching the sun slip like a tarnished coin into the pocket of the horizon, and thought of distance.

I spent hours listening to the dark waves churn and crash below me, and thought of nothing.

I drove back to town and walked the sleeping streets, their silence a counterpoint to the confusion in my head.

I stood outside her home, gazing at windows like closed eyes, and thought about love: hers, yours, ours.

When the sky brightened like a bruise, I went to Starbucks and bought a coffee I couldn’t drink, and a paper I couldn’t read.

I forgot where I left the car, where I left you, where I left myself.

I came home.

Where were you last night? you asked as I stepped over the threshold. Just as I’d known you would.

And all I could answer was gone.

Lisa Shulman
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of four picture books for children, as well as fiction, poetry, and non-fiction for adults. Her recent work has appeared in California Quarterly, KYSO Flash, I’ll Take This Word and Make It Mine, and Digging Our Poetic Roots; has been performed by Off the Page Readers Theater; and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Lisa lives in Northern California.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

At the Pacific Air Museum, a prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 12, Summer 2019); nominated for The Best Small Fictions 2020

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