¬ I.

Now is the tinkle of a child at the curled brow of a clown in a moving circus trapped inside the wood of a music box. Now is the blast of a sizzling shower in the locker room before a front start dive, bent down and forward from the hips, and your strokes communicate with a chlorine infested pool. Now is the big electric circuit that begins at the perineum and runs up the back of your body, ending between your nose and your upper lip as your lover sighs and trembles in your arms. Now is the close of an eyelid after dark on the comfort layer of an ergopedic foam mattress, arm carelessly thrown on your third husband’s torso inside a see-through vest, as you contemplate a tomorrow – will it come?
¬ II.

In the beach house by the light of that full belly’d moon he bunches her up in his arms, stubbled face to her naked back, their legs entwined, his foot pressed against hers. The queen bed and its regal rail all ebony and twine, the chiffonier and its tiny blue box of body ornaments, and its jars of microgram multivitamins, Montana flower muscle gel and hypoallergenic skin relief, and its bottles of aqua and cinnamyl alcohol and eugenol parfums, and its two million memories in a frame. All witness to a moment of heart swell before he goes. And you match the rhythm of his exhale, like you did that night at Red Rock when you danced awash in starburst to a slice of moon in the tall and silent sky. And when he deserts in flip-flops, because he will, perhaps he won’t, darling, he’ll leave a gorge full of corroded love or maybe a seed of brand new hope. A red tulip and its black velvety heart.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This poem was selected from entries submitted to our Creative Challenge Series #11: Word Salad, which required that the words bolded in the text must be included. Eugen managed to use two sets of required words in her entry. Read other Creative Challenge winners. To find out how to participate, go to Creative Challenges.



Eugen M. Bacon is a computer graduate mentally re-engineered into creative writing who has published over 100 short stories. Her work has won, been shortlisted, longlisted or commended in the Copyright Agency Prize 2017, Fellowship of Australian Writers National Literary Awards 2016, Alan Marshall Short Story Award 2016, Lightship Publishing (UK) international short story prize 2013 and Fish Short Story Prize 2013/14. Her creative articles were nominated for the 2017 Aurealis Convenors Award For Excellence. Eugen’s creative work has appeared or is forthcoming in Award Winning Australian Writing, AntipodeanSF, Andromeda, Aurealis, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Breach, Bukker Tillibul, Every Day Fiction, Farther Stars Than These, Horrified Press anthologies, 4 Star Stories, Mascara Literary Review, Meniscus, TEXT, Parentheses, The Victorian Writer, the Canberra Speculative Fiction Guild – A Hand of Knaves Anthology and through Routledge in New Writing.



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