Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash

by Karen Schauber

His body lays still, skin flaky like paperbark. How long, she wonders, placing Myrtle across his chest —the white flowers pop against the atrament-black of the forest burial ground. 

Lips stained dark-blue like Haskap jelly are already fading; she has stood by long enough. She stamps out her Viceroy cigarette, the tip of her shoes a muddy cattle-brown. In the distance, a pileated woodpecker jackhammers into the void; petrichor filling her lungs.

And through the trees, a tiny shard of light—the secret opening of the universe-—a wisp, the colour of smoke disappearing.


Karen Schauber’s flash fiction has received nominations for Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction and a spot on the Wigleaf LL. Read her at


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