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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Prose Poem: 136 words
By Laine Cunningham



On Lisbon’s ascendant streets, rumbled blocks tumble like dice down her breast and wade through watery shade. That wire-cut ghost of a breeze whisking up whispers of pastel de natas’ shattering shells, each face blackened in an earnest oven. A woman escorts her ticking cane; the hills of her years sheathed in cobbles eroded the height of dust by her insistent trek. Mace, nutmeg, pepper and clove; feasting, medicine, preservation, perfume; nurturing, healing, death and delight sheathed in her plastic grocery bag. Men jumbled into Escher-drawn corners, lithe in the shade. Pupils flared with fire, with war, beside cool-stained yawning windows. Tongues of lace lick at the sill, that hunger so raw, so radiant still, for solitary gangs cobbled between the masonry of memory: War. Earthquake. Poverty.

Such a reckoning for the explorers she birthed.

Laine Cunningham
Issue 4, July 2020

is a novelist and a three-time recipient of The Hackney Award. Recent books include Reparation (an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Writer’s Digest ebook award), The Family Made of Dust (a novel set in the Australian Outback which won two national awards), and Seven Sisters: Messages From Aboriginal Australia (an award-winning collection of essays published in 2017).

Her short prose and poetry have been published by Reed Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Fiction Southeast, Wraparound South, and As You Were: The Military Review. She is the senior editor and publisher of Sunspot Literary Journal, a multinational publication seeking to change the world.

Author’s website: http://www.lainecunningham.com/

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