Last Flag Of The River

December 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

duskatthepond

Last Flag Of The River
Tom Sheehan

Dangers are everywhere about the river: the porous bog whose underworld has softened for centuries, the jungles of cat-o-nine tails leap up into. Once, six new houses ago, one new street along the banking, two boys went to sea on a block of ice. They are sailing yet, their last flag a jacket shook out in dusk still hiding in Decembers every year. An old man has strawberries in his backyard. They run rampant part of the year. He planted them the year his sons caught the last lobster the last day of their last storm. Summers, strawberries and salt mix on the high air. A truck driver, dumping snow another December, backed out too far and went too deep. His son stutters when the snow falls. His wife hung a wreath at the town garage. At the all-night diner a waitress remembers how many times she put dark liquid in his coffee. When she hears a Mack or a Reo or a huge cumbersome White big as those old Walters used to be, she tastes the hard sense of late whiskeys. He had an honest hunger and an honest thirst, and thick eyebrows, she remembers, thick, thick eyebrows.

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Tom Sheehan served with the 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea, 1951. Books include Epic Cures: BriefCases,  Short Spans; A Collection of Friends; and From the Quickening. He has 18 Pushcart nominations, and included in Dzanc Best of the Web Anthology for 2009. He has 280 short stories on Rope and WireMagazine,  and print issues Rosebud (4) and Ocean Magazine (8) among others. Poetry collections, include This Rare Earth and Other FlightsAh, Devon UnbowedThe Saugus Book; and Reflections from Vinegar Hill. This is his second publication with Slice Of Life.

Image: Dusk at the Pond, By Leigh-Anne Fraser

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