In Nancy Hightower’s “The Forgetting (Bathsheba’s Lament),” each line of the poem reflects on the loss of a lover; the lines masterfully intersect to create the same chaos with the moment of longing for something you no longer possess. The poem begins: “my kisses don’t relax the grim, / corners of your mouth.” As the poem ends, Hightower elegantly touches on the idea of how quickly a moment can change:
but tell me: this little one if your arms now,The reader is left with a feeling of loss that isn’t quite digestible because the narrator’s own remembering is clinging on to the memories of what has been lost.
with her dolly-skin
and hushed cherry lips,
with her legs wrapped
tightly around you, does she bring you back
into the heat of battle?
“Inheritance” by Ruben Rodriquez is the winner of Bop Dead City’s Second Annual Flash Fiction Contest. The main character goes to visit his father only to discover that his father has committed suicide. Rodriguez keeps both the main character and the reader from feeling loss in full by never directly addressing the moment at hand. Just when it gets close, Rodriguez points our attention to the near-past: “He should have used a longer piece of rope. He looked nailed rather than tied to the main beam that ran along the center of the basement ceiling.” The very next paragraph, the reader is taken to “Years earlier” where we learn the origin of the beam and that the father was an alcoholic. As the narrator of the story leaves his old memories, we are brought back to right after his father died, once again missing the moment of impact, “He was cheap, which explained his final awkwardness.” For one tiny moment, Rodriguez allows the reader to get close to the feeling of loss as the son begins to cut his father down from the beam.
If you want to see a great example of constructing a journal that is cohesive, issue seven of Bop Dead City is what you need! It is a magazine you want to keep your eye on; when things come from humble beginnings they often grow into amazing things.