Fall/Winter 2014

NP 009Artwork, “The Gate” by Niall Parkinson


There are things you notice, not with the same eye as the shading of the sky, or
shoelaces loose, this is different, a flicker, yet it squeezes at a part of you that usually
sets off an awareness; it is faint, a dullness, and often nothing happens, or the feeling moves on, but sometimes it stays in your head a while, like that motorcycle that passes your car, and you see the guy’s thin shirt making sinusoids, and the next thing, you are thinking of an oil slick, and you see him lose control and slide along his back on the asphalt, but in reality he is still on his motorcycle passing you fast, and getting far ahead of you, but for some reason you slow down, and change lanes away from his, although the traffic is sparse, and he has disappeared long ago past a bend in the road. You still think about him, as you reach for your coffee, the details of his outfit still crisp in your mind, how everything about him from tire to helmet, was muted and white, a negative space; an absence of color. You put back your coffee into the round slot and you sense that his motorcycle is skidding on its side, that he is on his back, hands raised, like those daredevils who had a mishap; and you flinch at the sight of his face, his toothless face, and he is familiar; and you look at the mirror and bare your teeth, and you see your tongue lapping at each tooth, performing a head count, and in that second of distraction you cross your lane, and you hear a distant horn, and you look back at the road, and you straighten your car with a jolt, away from the edge, on the oil slick that is shaped like the one you dreamt for him, and your car skids, and you flip around and bounce, and the car keeps hurtling with the roof now where the wheels were, and you are on your back, and your shirt is thin, and you go over the cliff, and your teeth are knocked out, and the last thing you feel is the rocks that are ripping into all things, and you see his face one last time, and recognize him, and know him as the angel of death.


Mark Hage is a writer based in New York City. His fiction has recently been published in Confrontation, The Madison Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Pear Noir! Word Riot, and the Chicago Quarterly Review. He is completing a book of short stories.