Fire Solves for X

I walked into the snowdrift and counted to ten.
Its heat was inexplicably Chekhovian, yet more
intense. Mapping ley lines is predicated upon 
scale. The piano player sat hidden on a bench 

behind an opaque screen playing an amalgam 
of ragtime and swank post-Euclidean blues. It 
was furniture music with a curious mouthfeel. 
Everything seemed reclusive. Even the lamps

refused my doe-eyed entreaties and simply sat 
there coldly glowing. Somehow the novitiates 
had broken free again, inching across the deck
of the icebound ship with their rubber-handled

safety scissors and mossy unkempt eyes. Was  
there anyone still among us who was oblivious 
to the birds? Brilliant shrieking running things. 
A survey was authorized and it was clear, none

of us understood what a remainder was or had 
a clue about dancing in clogs, who was I kidding, 
it was the clouds, it was always the clouds. We
formed a line then counted off in threes. Shirts

and skins and something else entirely. Behind       
the screen the piano began playing an insistent
bass-heavy vamp, it had angles, and it sounded 
like a fire that was nearly ready to make a move.

Jeffrey Little | Hot Plonk and Digit
Contents | Mudlark No. 77 (2024)