NEW FLASH PROSE
by William Cass
She was in her seventies. Him: early forties. Lived in two small houses separated by her short hedge of rosemary. He rented; she owned. Edge of town, woods behind, tiny creek there.
They kept to themselves. A few words occasionally exchanged, but mostly just nods or a raised hand. Each lived alone. By the time he moved in, her husband long passed. His parents, too; his wife gone. He worked from home, he said, at something to do with software. She piddled: little garden out back, word searches, cross-stitch, romance novels, her soaps.
He began doing things for her without her asking. Straightened her mailbox post. Trimmed the rosemary. Shoveled her walk. Mowed. Moved trash cans to and from the curb. In the fall, raked under her birch tree in front.
Five years passed. Unremarkable, until late one spring night when an ambulance took her away. Clutching his robe, he watched from his front step. Silence afterwards. Fragrance of rosemary on a slight breeze. Sprinkling of stars. A hand lifted itself to his mouth. He shook his head.
She didn’t return. Still, he mowed. Watered her garden. Trimmed the hedge. A month or so later, a letter from a law firm saying she’d left him the house. He read it sitting on the front step, then let it dangle from his fingertips. New leaves rustled like sequins on her birch tree: light-green against white bark. Somewhere, a dog barked. He began to cry. High above, a plane scratched a vapor trail about which he was completely unaware.
originally published in MacQueen's Quinterly
Author bio here
POETRY | FLASH PROSE | VISUAL ART
All submissions via Submittable
Now accepting submissions for our spring issue:
"East" (May 2023)
full guidelines on Submittable
POETRY: submit up to 6 poems; no length limits
FLASH PROSE: submit up to 3 pieces; max 500 wds each
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* We particularly welcome submissions from traditionally marginalized voices, including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and the neurodivergent
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Art Editor: Lauren Rapp
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