Tonight, I read like John Coltrane played, unfurl my jazz voice, make scotch-and-soda eyes to the crowd, syncopate my way into the snap-finger backroom, into the dark corner where the slick-haired man with the paint brush mustache, thick-lensed eyeglasses, and loose lower lip presses his nose into the pages of La Nación, and when I open fire from my throat, he looks up, his face says mujer atrevida, brazen woman, and he laughs, so I belt out we remember everything, and the crowd nods, they’re behind me squarely here in the Recoleta district, and I give them what they want, continue with the new Gestapo, so arresting in their certitude, move to hidden sphere of infinity and the beast roars through the blood on his teeth, and the man sneers, raises his newspaper and displays the headline—that commotion over in Villa Crespo, perhaps the start of an uprising—and maybe that’s going on here too, as I continue with when the lizard brain commands and the tiger is coming for you, then an epitaph, the chocolate fingers of the dead, and my constant image of this last month flashes into the room—a cadre of men and women, dressed in rumpled white cotton, in the middle, my brother Aurelio, who blew jazz sax like an angry god, collapsed into ropes that tied him round his pole (because there are such venues for that sort of thing), his fingers smeared from his last meal—a final taste of chocolate, of life, slipped into his cell by a pitying guard, and we heard that Aurelio thrust his chest and stomach out just as the order to fire was given and his loosened buttons popped, spilling the manifesto from his shirt as he shouted muerte a los traidores, and the man in the back makes a sour face as I scream: you can cut all the flowers but you can’t keep spring from coming and from each crime are born bullets that will one day seek out where your heart lies, and there I end my work, with the good general slumped lifeless over the armrest of his chair and La Nación dangling between his fingers and the floor as the troopers herd in.

 

by Ronald Jackson

 

Ron Jackson writes stories, poems, and non-fiction. His work has appeared in The Chattahoochee Review, Firewords Quarterly, Iodine Poetry Journal, Kentucky Review, North Carolina Literary Review, Prime Number Magazine, Tar River Poetry, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and in anthologies and online venues. Recognitions include honorable mention in the Doris Betts Fiction Prize competition in 2012, third prize in Prime Number Magazine’s 2014 flash fiction competition, and honorable mention in the 2014 New Millennium Writings short-short fiction competition.

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