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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Prose Poem: 124 words
by Mikki Aronoff

Ready or Not

—After Hide-and-Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew*

Death, that rascal crook, knuckles his hollow call on mottled skulls and scapulae sprawled across flyblown soil. His fingers, forks of feast and famine.

I dread you will find me,
worry you won’t.

I stumble on paths choked with gnarls of heartwood and roots. Belladonna. Nests of rodents that skulk. Day remembers the drag of my body. Night erases its measure.

My limbs tremble and fail me.
I hold fast to oak.

Each day a patchwork of bones, porous as evening’s turmoil. A thud of stone, currents sluggish with tears. An unfilled cup. For these gifts I offer praise bound with rushes just plucked from the pond.

I’ve not yet tired
of this tangle.



*Publisher’s Note:

Hide-and-Seek (oil on canvas, 1940-42) by Russian-born surrealist painter Pavel Fyodorovich Tchelitchew (1898-1957) resides at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), New York City. To view the painting, see the article by Hamilton Morris, “Finding Hide-and-Seek: A journalist discovers why Pavel Tchelitchew’s enigmatic painting really might be worthy of cult worship,” at MoMA online (31 May 2019); link retrieved on 30 April 2022:

Mikki Aronoff’s
Issue 13, May 2022

work appears or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Intima, Thimble Literary Magazine, London Reader, SurVision, Rogue Agent, Popshot Quarterly, The South Shore Review, The Fortnightly Review, Feral, The Phare, Sledgehammer Lit, Flash Boulevard, New World Writing, Emerge, The Disappointed Housewife, Tiny Molecules, Potato Soup Journal, and elsewhere. Her stories and poems have received Pushcart and Best Microfiction nominations.

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