Bigger, 21st Century, & Yellow

by Hillary Leftwich

Issue Two: May 23, 2019


Bigger

The peaches and apples in the grocery store today are huge. I put a quarter up to give a reference of size but it became lost in the galaxy that is Huge Fruit. I asked a few other shoppers if they were alarmed at how big the fruit is today but they just stared at me. I watched the clerk’s face carefully in the checkout line, waiting for his reaction when he scanned the gigantic fruit. Nothing. I asked him why the fruit is so fucking huge. Why? That’s how things are now. People’s mouths are getting bigger too. And words. Words are goddamn enormous. Then he told me he doesn’t get paid enough to explain giant fucking fruit. Maybe don’t eat it, he said.

21st Century

Woke up at 3:51 am after a dream of an approaching apocalypse. The egoists I see on social media were all part of the sanctification cult. They were on a mission to become gods, believing the more attention/fuck boys/fuck girls they collected the higher their scores were. Very Black Mirror. The world was just beginning to burn. People crowded on buses to escape. Animals on the side of the highway were catching on fire, their fur blackening and curling. Kevin Bacon was singing a lullaby about farm animals as the sky spun green.

On the drive into work I was stuck behind a construction truck with a sad American flag flapping defiantly against its pole. Bauhaus came on the radio just then, “Too Much 21st Century,” and Peter Murphy was singing from ten years ago about too much conceit, too much fake. A better human. And that flag came halfway off, almost broke free as we gunned our way down the highway. Something’s gonna break soon. Right?

Yellow

The factory lights blink a final goodnight while the workers shuffle home. The buildings are burning while the bodies sleep. There is nothing kind about home. Yellow fills the window-eyes of the factories forgotten in dusk. Stray dogs scrap over someone’s discarded dinner. The walls in the lunch rooms are painted a sick yellow. The workers watch their backs. The leftover skin of nicotine and sad sandwiches. The homeless slump on their sidewalk-beds. The sound of soft chaos will lead them all home.

Early mornings and a slow sun rising won’t guarantee an arrival. The men are more than yellow. Roosters crow and still birds blanket their clutch of dotted eggs. Forgotten dynamite in blistered buildings. The canaries are humming. Their ghosts are still where they left them. The dogs are watching. Listen, the eggs are cracking. They are told to stay, don’t run.

They once were told yellow is the color of happiness.

Hillary Leftwich is the author of the forthcoming collection Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How To Knock from Civil Coping Mechanisms (CCM) Press in 2019. She earned her MFA in fiction and poetry from the Mile High MFA at Regis University. She is the poetry and prose editor for Heavy Feather Review and organizes/hosts At the Inkwell Denver, a monthly reading series. Currently, she freelances as a writer, editor, writing workshop instructor, and guest instructor for Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash Workshop. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming in print and online in such journals as Entropy, The Missouri Review, The Review Review, Hobart, SmokeLong Quarterly, Matter Press, Literary Orphans, Sundog Lit, NANO Fiction, Occulum, Jellyfish Review, and others.

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