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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 23: 28 April 2024
Microfiction: 179 words
By Richard Holinger

The Mendacious Monarch


...as early as his pupate stage tells the milkweed, “Only looking.”

...when writing his autobiography, “forgets” to mention his early life as lowly crawler.

...at informal gatherings, wing to wing with Admirals, Fritillaries, and True Brush-foots, lets them know he “simply didn’t bother to dress.”

...if ever needing to light on a branch with others like him squished tighter than August oak leaves, to make more room, reveals to those nearby he’s “a carrier of a communicable disease.”

...if caught in a contest racing to coneflower, ironweed, zinnia, or lantana, shouts, “Mayday! Mayday!”

...one of half a million others migrating south, he announces halfway to Mexico, somewhere over Oklahoma, maybe, to his wingmen, “You go on, don’t think of me, I’ll make it, somehow,” forcing them from sense of duty to fly out front, allowing what they believe is the less fortunate of their flock to survive the trip intact.

...looking pale as a pumpkin in late December after losing his scales from the long trip down, decries his deep tiger shade and heralds light cantaloupe.

Richard Holinger’s
Issue 23 (April 2024)

work has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, Iowa Review, KYSO Flash, and MacQueen’s Quinterly, and has garnered four Pushcart Prize nominations. His books include North of Crivitz (poetry, Kelsay Books) and Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences (essays, Dreaming Big Press). He holds a doctorate from UIC and lives far enough northwest of Chicago to see fox, deer, turkeys, herons, and eagles cross the field and lake beyond his windows.

Author’s website: https://www.richardholinger.net/

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