Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
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Gotham, Oil On Canvas

by Michael Lee Johnson

Chatty women at the dining table
in 19th century garb-
red hats & hair pins
caked with rubies,
ghostly faces acutely obscured,
hue blue matted hair stretching
down like dripping wax.
Menus open out white
as bleached sheets
with no black typeface.
Wine glasses filled with white
Clouds, no red juice-
begging in silence to be
lifted up, to be touched
by the missing lips of strangers..
3 mirrors hanging from
frozen air behind the bar
away from the dining area-
circular globs of white reflecting
nothing but moon shapes.
At the dining table ladies
pointing fingers at each other,
ears filled with gobs of paint.
Dull lights in the corners
depicting form, faint
in near darkness.
Their pictured world,
frozen in time, is slapped on canvas.
As the evening wears toward midnight
the painting disappears, merging
silent characters into madness.

© 2007 Michael Lee Johnson

Michael Lee Johnson lives in Chicago, IL after spending 10 years in Edmonton, Alberta Canada during the Viet Nam era. He is a freelance writer and poet. He is heavy influenced by Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, and Leonard Cohen. 200 plus poems pending publication or published. He is a member of Poets & Writers, Inc; Directory of American Poets & Fictions Writers: pw.org/directory. Recent publications: <b>The Orange Room Review, Bolts of Silk, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Foliate Oak Online Literary Magazine, Poetry Cemetery, Official Site of Laura Hird, The Centrifugal Eye, Adagio Verse Quarterly, Scorched Earth Publishing</b> and many others. Published in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Nigeria, India, United Kingdom.

Find more by Michael Lee Johnson in the Author Index.

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