Dad said not to touch his bowling trophy. Dad died a year ago, but still we listen. He once told us not to breathe too much, that it would stretch out our nostrils, and Little Betty clothes-pinned her nose and also died. Today, like every other day, Mumsy goes right up to the trophy. The little gold man, his torso pitched forward, the explosive energy in his outstretched arm. Today, like every other day, she puts her finger an inch within and pulls it back. Tomorrow, she says, tomorrow. Then she folds herself back into the kitchen. We ask her why she doesn’t touch the trophy. Today, for once, she answers. Because, she says, I might steal the energy from that trophy arm. If that were to happen, your father would really be dead. Okay, Mumsy says, and turns to begin a stew, I answered your question. Now you can stop asking. She cubes up the beef, slices a potato, and we all wonder if she understands how questions work.
poetry and fiction have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Mid-American Review, and Passages North, among many others, and in the anthology New Micro (W. W. Norton, 2018). Her latest books include a full-length collection of flash fiction, Dressed All Wrong for This (Blue Light Press, 2019); a flash novella, The Way of the Wind (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2020); and a full-length collection of poetry, The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books). Her photographs have been published in South Florida Poetry Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Sourland Mountain Review, and other journals. She lives in New York City, where her poem-play, Love is a Bad Neighborhood, ran for a week in December 2018.
Unknown, Absurd, Sincere, a review by Corey Miller
of Dressed All Wrong for This in Atticus Review (10 February 2020)
Francine Witte in conversation with poet and fiction writer
Arya F. Jenkins, in The Poetry Cafe (26 January 2020)
⚡ 2.2: Francine Witte: poetry, photography, and flash fiction,
nine works and an interview of 17 questions, in diaphanous micro
(13 June 2018)