IF YOU CAN, LISTEN by Jake McAuliffe

First off, endings are quiet. As something/somelove dies, a spacetime wound will appear to you and crickets will come out. They will flood your ears and tickle your canals like cotton. Some cheeky crickety fucks are going to use your body as a musical instrument. This is normal. I think every bone and pipe inside the human body was placed on purpose. You may have heard the theory of “intelligent design” but try this: crickets frisking your insides for anything that can shake the air. That’s music, baby. And that’s how tinnitus comes about. It’s insects. It’s our slow air for death, the one which we alone cannot play. I heard it only yesterday. In the worst white room, my love pinched my palm pink before her last breath smashed the air flat. Then, C sharp.


Jake McAuliffe is a cancer biologist from Cork, Ireland. His first ever story was about talking foxes and to this day most of his stories feature talking animals. He was nominated for Best Microfiction 2021. He lives in Galway with his partner and chatty cats.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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