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free Phosphenes


Cait's face glows orange for a second as she sucks away the last millimeter of burning leaf. I hear her exhale the smoke slowly, subtly, purposefully. She's holding Tinker's hand. Both their heads are tilted back -- in euphoria, I guess -- and they're gazing into the stars, or probably beyond them.

I settle back into the rickety bentwood chair I'm balancing on its back legs, and look out beyond the yard, across the meadow, into the glen where the hills begin to steepen.

I've seen fox fire and I've seen swamp gas burning; this is something else entirely, something rising above the trees. I am, for the moment, gripped with fear like the waking from a nightmare. I'm too afraid to move or speak.

That's a quick clip from the opening scene of my 1992 short story "Phosphenes," originally published in Crucible (Barton College). I intend to issue this story as a chapbook, available FREE at each Salon at the Microscopic Theater. The booklet will be a prototype, because I hope to similarly offer chapbooks by selected poets and writers who present at the salon. The chapbooks will be published at no charge to the author (in small quantities to be sure) under an imprint I've been using for various, infrequent publishing projects dating back to 1985.