THREE MICROS THAT TICK by Daniel Seifert

THREE MICROS THAT TICK by Daniel Seifert

Yesterday came the decree

And today it comes into force. We must all fight like Plains Indians, from here on.

That means cool your arrows. Your axe must sleep in the ground while you win prestige by counting coup: 

Curl yourself like a puff of wind. Inch your body to the enemy. Closer to his neck, where the soft hair curls against his pulse. Touch his body with your coup stick—you have won. Steal his horse if you want; beat the darkening air with your cries. But the battle is over now, if you want it.

 

***

 

Press play

We are the narrators in his head. The man who each night plugs us in his ear and listens to stories. Alchemised from the page by our mouths, paid by the hour.

We’re in bright studios far away, but we know the man is in bed when he kisses our lips to his ears.

Dark-time. Pillow. Moulded rubber in shells of skin. The marvellous intimacy of audio.

And we have a burning question: why does he listen in the dark, when he falls asleep so fast? Like bathtub water pulled down narrow pipes? Oh, time made foam. And we have a theory: he likes the way we read from scripts, threading words to thick red scarves that press his horizontal skin. He likes the way murderers are always caught, in the end. He likes how he forgets what we said last night and how he can rewind to the good parts—just before the foam hits.

 

***

 

Colt

Young horse shimmering between the plain and sky. Blue falling to four-legged black, to land on dirty green.

Old man who calls himself a cowboy. Walks to the horse thinking how can it still stand. Mad

young thing kicking in a red barn door and the door kicking back, snap. Just like that, a sentence passed.

Old man touches young horse snout whispering blue-sky words. Speaking in fact to the mouth of a holster, the handle of his gun. And green just waiting.


Daniel Seifert has writing published or forthcoming in The New York Times, Consequence, Open: The Journal of Arts and Letters, and the anthology Missed Connections: Microfiction From Asia. In 2023 he was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, and longlisted for the Letter Review Prize. He is currently undertaking a Masters in Creative Writing at Lasalle College of the Arts in Singapore. He tweets @DanSeifwrites

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