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Taryn Markle 





She lays a little too close to the wall, the feeling of its closeness like a body. Her body, the one she resides in, is cumbersome against the mattress. Her heaviness is forming the foam around her. She leaves an imprint. Her thoughts pace back and forth between the present and the past. She is confronted by images of her love failing and her voice quieting. She lays, her voice having left her entirely. Somewhere, deep in the recess of the pacing, there is a whisper. Speak, it says. Just say the words, but she refuses. The body that she originally possessed was tossed away like garbage and swept up into the wind like a stray paper bag. It was lugged across the studio apartment that was so familiar yet unfamiliar at the same time, slid along the shiny hardwood until it was finally stuffed through the window and out into the cold. It was lifted into the breeze as the air heaved. There are still skin cells settled on the dark oak wood of that room, leaving microscopic footprints in her wake. The cells are also sewn into the pillowcases on the still-not-made bed. It’s as if the owner decided not to clean up the crime scene. But why would they need to clean if she couldn’t even inspire her voice to edge itself to the top of her throat? Instead, it sat, low in her abdomen, and it stewed / simmered / seethed.  When she is finally able to rouse her body, to demand it move, and she stands, the imprint on the mattress remains. She takes a step away from the bed, but peers back over her shoulder. There, in the engraved shape, lies the ghost of her first body. It drifted in through the crack in the windowsill and set itself there. Maybe one day she will claim it back, slipping in next to it and holding it delicately until it seeps back inside her, but tonight, she sleeps on the floor to allow it to rest.


His nails form a nest of red lines on my back. I extend my shaking fingers to stop his hand but it is too far away from his body. I leave my fingertips frozen to his chest, lips pale as a spirit’s and quivering in his wake. I do not want to push, do not want him to leave, but the sensory overload feels like jacks pressing into my fragile flesh. I cannot murmur the words to tell him to freeze with me, so I let my body sink into his. I roll to press my chest against his, I can feel the furnace of his body beginning to warm my frigid figure. He is smoke, burning holes in my clothing with his cigarettes and reaching his scorching fingers through to find new flesh. He rolls to his back, pulling me on top of him, and whispers you’re so lovely. I cannot help but kiss him, his fiery touch against my icy lips heats my face to a rosy color. His nails form a nest of red lines on my back, burning white hot. I do not stop him from committing arson. 

Planetary Alignment


I pluck the planets from

Black sky with shadowed care

Reach towards your

Parting mouth


Place gently swirling nebula

Into cavern

Asteroid crushes between teeth

Crunch down on

Clay and silicate, reach for eclipse

Grasp black hole and

Drop softly into my mouth

Tongue tastes meteor shower

I pour stardust from my lips

Grasping your hand in mine

Fingers collapsed

And I kiss

Leave galaxies on

your fingertips

We dance in retrograde

Solstice drawing

Finally close on axis

Stars drip in saliva

Strung between blue and purple lips

And when celestial bodies collide


Taryn Markle is an NKU Creative Writing Bachelor’s graduate. She has been published for poetry, fiction, or experimental works in the Ambient Heights Anthologies, drip lit magazine, and Loch Norse Magazine. She was invited to read at the Kentucky Women Writers Convention in 2018, and is a 2019 GSA Creative Writing Alumni. She was an editor of Loch Norse Magazine 2023-2024, and an editor and contributor of The Pentangle 2024. She creates experimental pieces that explore the chaos that is everyday life, emotions, and relationships. Her friends can attest that though she often cannot speak a single coherent sentence, she is quite skilled with a pen in her hand.

[Flash Fiction]



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