Copper Mosquitoes

Copper Mosquitoes

The smell of burning leaves was
the only thing that could mask
the old grease smell that
permeated the landscape:

the men, the women, even the grass smelled like
road-side hamburgers.

So every few years he’d order his followers to
burn it to the ground and Pan looked on,
his favourite flute, silent.

The baker, whose house was
closest to the water and furthest
from the flames,
leaned in his doorway
watching Pan watch
the greenery
turn

orange to red to
urban-sprawl-grey

then disappear with the finality of
winter though the seasons
hadn’t been around for years.

The black mustangs galloped
away, their majesty
obscured by a cloud of dust
barely distinguishable from
the smoke.

When, at last, Pan turned away,
the baker motioned for him to
come into the shop and gave him
a miniature statue: the baker’s
fingerprints expertly smeared
in the almond paste to create Pan’s
soft face; his neat nails leaving the
impression of cloven feet.

Pan smiled at the likeness.

He stuck a toothpick in its
eyes before biting off its
head first.

Delicious, said Pan, looking
past the baker out the window at
the flames.

I warned them, didn’t I? And now
I close my eyes as they skitter about,
little mosquitoes buzzing in my ear.

Why must I still hear them
with my eyes shut tight?

Eat, replied the baker.

So Pan ate another sweet effigy
and another after that feeling more like
Cronus than himself.

Drunk off that feeling of
otherness,
responsibility dissipated,
relief washed over him

and at last he played his flute,
breathing through it,
as the flames consumed the little shop
last.

 
 
Laura MacDonald has a BA in English Literature and a BFA in Playwriting both from Concordia University. She has worked behind the scenes as writer, director, stage manager and designer for a number of theatrical productions in Montreal. The recent birth of her first child, and the accompanying time spent in dark rooms, has forced her back into the hidden recesses of her mind where she keeps finding little poems.

 

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