Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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by Thomas D Reynolds

he lay on the couch
on the front porch
for several hours

then he walked
into the ravine
and started gathering stones

all the while he never
made a sound
never looked back at the house.

I regretted stopping the truck
and helping him into the bed
tending to his scrapes and bruises

peering through dark blinds
I swear I'll never be kind
to one of those drifters again

even one with purple wings
and a scarred leathery mug
like a shrunken head

most of them sit on the steps
maybe peer into the windows
or chop a load of firewood

not carry stone after stone
into the dead grass
heaping them into a mound

one already six feet high
and still he walks from the ravine
pushing himself up with his wings

gripping with his talons
five or six jagged stones
now positioning them on the pile

as if building some kind of tower
an alter to some kind of god
the god of ugliness and disease

once the alter is completed,
then what will he sacrifice to send him
back where he belongs?

© 2006 Thomas D Reynolds

Thomas Reynolds teaches at Johnson County CommunityCollege in Overland Park, Kansas, and has published poems in variousprint and online journals, includingCombat, American Western Magazine, Flint Hills Review, Alabama LiteraryReview, Aethlon-The Journal of Sport Literature, New Delta Review, TheGreen Tricycle, Ariga, 3rd Muse Poetry Journal, Sidereality,and Prairie Poetry. His poem "How to Survive on a Distant Planet," published in Strange Horizons,was nominated for a Rhysling award for best short poem.

Find more by Thomas D Reynolds in the Author Index.

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