Odilon Redon, Beatrice


She remembers the day her daughter was born and died. One of those things, the doctors said. There’s nothing anyone could have done. They named her Ailana, light bearer. She was a brief beacon of hope. For her and her husband. For their country. For their planet.

She never had another baby. No one did.

But. . .there are moments caught between heart-beats, when she senses her, this ghost-baby, growing like a golden flower, glowing in the shadows. Waiting to bring the light to their dark world.


A wisp of flash fiction for Kim’s dVerse prosery prompt. She asks us to use the line

“There are moments caught between heart-beats.” From Louis MacNeice’s poem “Coda.”







55 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. A beautiful wisp, Merril, and a gorgeous image! I love the description of Allana as ‘a brief beacon of hope’ and a ‘ghost-baby, growing like a golden flower, glowing in the shadows.’

  2. A real flash, or wisp, like passing people on the street, like watching people on the subway; a fine balance of dystopia (she never had another baby–no one did) and hope (waiting to bring light to their dark world).

  3. Yes, of course! But I think as a story yours is better than mine, there is more to it, more ‘flesh’ to hold onto, and an ending that opens into something with far more possibilities than my attempt did.
    Funny you said it wanted to be a poem. That was exactly how I felt too. I wonder if it isn’t partly because a line from a poem will always be a line of poetry and will feel just a little out of place in a straight prose piece?

    • That’s so funny–I thought yours was more of a story and maybe mine too open-ended. Hahaha.
      Perhaps you’re right about the line. Though I really did like this one, and it wasn’t too difficult to put into a piece.

  4. a ghost baby growing like a golden flower…..this is just a beautiful prosery. So very poignant. And the lines that indicate she is the last baby….in the world. There will be no more. Oh how very very sad this would be.

  5. A wisp in word count only. Your flash fiction is a perfect example of how a few words can read like a novel with all its depth and complexity. I do love the image of a ghost-baby, how much that image evokes the experience of any woman who has given birth only to see her baby die, or women who have suffered late-term miscarriages. In a way, sad as it is, it still feels comforting.

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