There’s a new anthology by Ethos Books, and my story “earthrise” is part of it. If you’re into speculative fiction; or want something that deviates from the usual vein of #singlit, pick this one up. There are 25 stories inside from established and new writers, so you’ll definitely find something that speaks to you.
How we used to love those evening outings, traipsing through
back alleys to reach the open fields two streets away.
Our troupe, monkey-limbed and messy-haired,
armed with badminton rackets, and enough
shuttlecocks, to lose them all in that hour of play
before dusk fell and dinner began.
Sometimes we traded our rackets for rougher
games of catch, scrambling and screaming
as we sprang amongst our clutch of cousins,
counting out in our childish voices
“Pepsi Cola One-Two-Three!”,
the standard precursor to any good game.
Occasionally, finding a fallen coconut on the green,
we scooped it up, raced home, harassed an adult to hack
open its unyielding husk. Crowding round, we took turns
slurping up the cool sweetness before scraping with spoons
its tender white flesh, eating savagely like feral children,
licking lips in sated disappointment when there was
Nothing left (to consume).
I mourned when they fenced off the fields,
wanting to keep it pristine for club cricketers.
But not as much as I mourned the loss of Grandma’s
House. That stalwart residence at the corner of
Tessensohn Road, anchor to my childhood, levelled,
transformed, now untended grass with a
“No Trespassing” sign.
A field returned, but no longer mine.
We part without words.
No trailing goodbyes to mark
The end of this excursion.
Instead, we press pause—
Into our separate carriages,
And resume play with eager fingers
Tap tap tapping into our phones.
A Lai experiment (aab aab aab)
Silence presses in.
The phone neither rings
Text read and reread.
Searching for a shred
I haven’t a clue.
Air turns purple, blue,
The ellipses trot out across the screen,
a visual hang
like our conversation spread
across two continents
separated by oceans and time differences and
god knows how many air miles.
Technology closes the gap they say
now we can talk anytime
as long as there’s wifi.
But you’re in backcountry now
traipsing over rocky mountains
camping in the open air
walking miles without data
only you and the world beneath your feet
and a perhaps a grumpy french gentleman or two,
stories you’ll relate when you get back
on the grid
of modern civilization, the one
I’m nestled amongst,
bright lights and the constant buzz of information
never silent, never alone,
wondering about the paths you’ve taken
in that strange old silent world
that I sometimes forget exists.