by Randall Brown

 

There you go again—the luge beginning its run, drawn by the fate of gravity, as if in free-fall. How still you lie! That, the announcer announces, is the hard part—to remain unmoved in the face of such relentless velocity. Ten years since we too tried to still ourselves against your regimen—the training, the self-doubts, the hardened heart devoted to the cold. I didn’t follow your career trajectory, only now follow your path toward a possible bronze.

The impossible happening, though—

Your luge takes off without you. Your broken body continues its awful descent, not moving, bereft of its desire.

Somewhere, the gods and goddesses begin their judgments. Against the feather weigh the heart.

Once, we shared a sled, its runners carving Boon Hill, our blessed swerve from tree onto the iced-over pond, how like snakes we traveled toward the bank, every sound like that of an ice-crack. You were the one who let go, remember, sliding ahead, so set upon the bank. Which should weigh more?—the gravity of the heart heavy with selfishness or the lightness that comes with your incessant drive, that pitiless force pushing you away from other bodies.

Somewhere, they chant the spells, make promises that you’ll visit as lapwing, hungry, banking in the modern sky, rising against the settled world. But now, you’re so tiny against the magnificence of that winter, a mountain of avalanches held in check, the world’s collective breath. Unless the scales choose secrets over living. Then, they won’t let go. You’ll travel with the dead, buried demons, unforgiving in their grasp.

There you go again—moving

 

 

Randall Brown is the author of the award-winning flash fiction collection Mad to Live. His work appears in The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash FictionThe Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction, Grey House’s Critical Insights: American Short Story, Best Small Fictions 2015, and The Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction. He blogs regularly at FlashFiction.Net and has been published and anthologized widely, both online and in print. He is also the founder and managing editor of Matter Press and its Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. He received his MFA from Vermont College and teaches in Rosemont College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.

 

 

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