This reminds me of ‘the year’ concept I played out in a piece of my own which was published a few years ago in Dark Sky Magazine online, even down to the length and tone, though I will have to say I love the author’s poetic approach. I would love to collect flash fiction prompts for a book and if I did, this would certainly be one of them. I didn’t work from a prompt but seeing a pattern makes me wonder if this would be a good one. I have copied and pasted my ‘year’ piece below and I will let you compare/contrast. Maybe you will want to use it as a prompt for your own work. If you do, post the link!


The year it snowed in Texas

The year it snowed in Texas was the year Mama bought me red cowgirl boots. It was the year I stomped on my daddy’s grave for leaving me, the year Mama smacked my legs in front of everyone. I was not going to the funeral unless I had the boots. Daddy had promised, promised, but Bobby Rearden said he was rotting with the maggots in his face. Well I stomped on Bobby too, stomped hard on his toes with my roach-killers and made him cry. I got sent home from school and Mama slapped me for sassing her. I slammed my door and wrapped up in a quilt like I was a hot tamale. The little ball of fire was moving through my body. It would move ever outward ‘til I was consumed, always consuming. It would make me sorry, that little ball, that little ball that was never quenched.

The year it snowed in Texas was the year my brother was born. It was the year my mama, standing in the flurries of that brief visitation of winter dust, made me love her, the filaments of her hair lifting in the puffs of wind. I didn’t know you could fall in love, just like that, at the sight of someone standing. How can a woman give away love so everyone felt it, even the birds, the trees, the snow itself, come to bless Kilgore. I would never love as she did. I would love only in that one brief moment. How we are spared from knowing who we are.

Years later, I found a note in my brother’s lonely apartment in L.A. “Bury me here,” he instructed in a scrawl on a map he had drawn of Woodlawn Cemetery. He had spent all his savings burying his lover and I couldn’t even buy him a headstone. The county would keep him ‘til they made him ash – my shame. I dyed my hair, changed my name, moved to Arizona. I camped beside a positive vortex but I could not escape Mama’s sad eyes watching me from the shadows of the twisted junipers.

First appeared in Dark Sky Magazine online

Word Fountain

How to Fall Asleep and Never Wake Up
Daryl Sznyter

The year they discovered my best friend, twenty years old and silent under the heap of her wrecked car, I learned one can sleep forever and never wake up.

That year, her sister, only seventeen, ate magic mushrooms and lost her mind and her brother, fourteen, started running and stopped eating and I didn’t eat magic mushrooms but lost my mind anyway as everyone watched my skin, too white to be real, disintegrate before their eyes.

That year I flew to Colorado to see an urn surrounded by pointe shoes. It reminded me more of a wastebasket than the last I would see of the only person I actually spoke to. The cassette that held my entire life was broken. No – not broken – lost. Her sister ran naked through the street a few days later after ingesting a…

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