Scattered Steps: Prosery

Edward Hopper, “Automat,” 1927

“Tell me! What people?” I’m frantic, barely giving Marie a chance to reply.

Again, she warns, “it’s not safe here. Meet me at the old mill tomorrow at noon. You remember? Make sure you’re not followed now—or tomorrow.”

She practically pushes me out the door, murmuring nonsense about visiting Auntie soon, in case anyone is listening. She really is scared.

I don’t see anyone, but it’s getting dark. I gaze up at the stars, wishing I could walk in the street of the sky. Night walks scattering poems, I think. Here on earth, less pleasant things are scattered, like—oh no–as I feel the squish under my shoes and smell dog poop. It’s going to be one of those nights. I remind myself, I’ve had worse. I head to a café, order a bottle of wine, and pour the first glass.

A continuation of my spy series for Prosery on dVerse. Linda asked us to use this line by E.E. Cummings: “In the street of the sky night walks scattering poems.” I’ve continued this from where I left off in September.


Edward Hopper, New York Movie, 1939


During the war we talked about “after,” but we didn’t realize that for some of us, there will never be an after. I remember one survivor who said the past was like a festering wound, but “she’d had it sliced away–leaving a scar, it’s true, but barely noticeable.” She said, “You cover it up and go about your life.”

But at night, I’d hear her tossing and turning, and sometimes crying. I recognized it for what it was—the past haunting her. It doesn’t go away. It’s a movie playing on an endless, repeating loop. It’s a ghost that visits each night, or an illness. Paul is that ghostly contagion. He haunts me at night, visits me in my dreams, and he’s infected me with dangerous thoughts. Sometimes I’m no longer sure if what I did was right.

It’s Prosery time at dVerse, flash fiction of no more than 144 words using the given poetic prompt line. This is another episode of my ongoing (and going, where is it going?) spy series. Sarah has asked us to use the line:

“she’d had it sliced away leaving a scar”.

From a poem by Michael Donaghy. You can read the original poem here: