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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Prose Poem: 175 words
By Merridawn Duckler

On Loneliness


At a gas station, underground. He leans in; the window is open. Addresses me in a way that indicates he thinks I’m younger than I am. And so I become younger. The oil cans nearby sit impassively with sealed lids. To pry the adhesive off is not to unlock the container but to wreck it. Behind his pale face the break room of stickers. In the early hours of the day, we are both up against dawn. Light moves imperceptibly down the empty street. The world is made of broken blue. Tapping the measuring stick over darkness, he says I’m down a quart. He volunteers that he’s been up since the previous day. He tells me he used to do that when he fished in Costa Rica. The image of reefs gently brushes up against us. Everything in the sea has a purpose. What of the land. The transaction finalizes with an electronic chirp. I take a receipt for history. Our hands touch. Over the ashy Willamette, two tandem ospreys hold the note.

Merridawn Duckler
Issue 23 (April 2024)

is a writer and visual artist from Oregon, and the author of Interstate (dancing girl press, chapbook series), Idiom: The Oregon Poems (Harbor Review, 2019), Misspent Youth (rinky dink press), and Arrangement (flash fiction forthcoming from Southernmost Books in Summer, 2024). Recent work appears in Massachusetts Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Pembroke Magazine, and Western Humanities Review.

Awards include the Beulah Rose poetry prize from Smartish Pace; first-place winner of the Invisible City 2021 Flash CNF Contest, judged by Heather Christle; the Elizabeth Sloane Tyler Memorial Award from Woven Tale Press, judged by Ann Beattie; and winner of the Arts and Letters Drama Prize (Georgia College). An assistant editor at Narrative, Ms. Duckler also serves on the Editorial Board of the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.

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