Salvatore Difalco

Fiction

Hope

 

 

 

 

Drawn by peculiar smells and sounds, a robin lit upon the sill of a half-open window. The window looked in on the shadowy kitchen—decor nondescript, appliances dated— of a second-floor east end walk up. The robin observed a naked man on a chair in the middle of the kitchen, arms wrapped around himself, torso rocking back and forth. The robin watched him for several minutes. The man rocked back and forth so violently, the robin could not make out his facial features. He was repeating a phrase:

 

“I know, I know, I know, I know . . .”

 

The robin listened intently and tried to make sense of the man’s rocking, but when it heard the harsh squawk of a nearby blue jay, it flitted off the sill and flew to its nest, located in one of the maple trees lining the courtyard of the building. When the way was clear the robin returned to the windowsill.

 

“I know, I know, I know, I know . . .”

 

Hector Gomes, 35, the man in question, had been going like this for almost an hour. The purpose or rather the trigger of the rocking and repetition of the phrase "I know" cannot be known. We can never know the experience of the other, we can only know their behaviour. The only thing to be stated with absolute certainty is that everything lives under the constant threat of annihilation. Some respond better than others to this threat.

 

There was a rent in Hector’s relation with his world and a disruption of his relation with himself. He felt on the fringe of being, with only one foot in life and perhaps no right even to that. He felt that he was not really alive and of no value to anyone.

 

When Hector stopped rocking and talking, he sat up straight in his chair. His hair looked electrified, his body glistened with sweat. He held his clenched fists to his face and bared his teeth. Life is pain, the robin thought, life betrays our true potentialities.

 

But the robin was no psychologist.

 

“Then why are you here?” Hector asked.

 

“I am the augur of spring,” the robin stated. “I bring you a worm for your troubles.”

 

The robin hopped onto the kitchen counter and bent its head down. It regurgitated a half-digested worm.

 

“Friendly of you,” Hector said.

 

“Where there are worms there’s hope,” the robin stated before fluttering off.

 

*This story first appeared here.

 

 

 

 

 

Hat Rabbit

 

 

 

 

Is this a failure of science or morality? Science has failed me. Morals escape the parameters of my existence. If I remain very small, very very small, no one will see or touch me, and ergo I will not exist for them. No one will harm me. No one will urge my extermination. No one will covet my fur, my ears, my feet. In this warm black place, I have a cold black place in my heart for the hands that put me here and the hands that will remove me. But if I remain very small, if I hold myself still and breathe very small breaths and think very small things perhaps no hands will descend and pull me out of the warm grainy blackness where I wish for nothing, no champions, no vetch, only the mercy that I shall be left alone and infinitesimal.

 

 

 

Salvatore Difalco was born in Hamilton, Ontario and splits time these days between Toronto and Sicily. He is the author of four books including the illustrated flash fiction collection "The Mountie At Niagara Falls" (Anvil Press).

© 2018 by Azia Archer

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