Suspense / A plastic surgery center / A tire iron / 341w

At the outset there were three:

Azalea, Clyne, and Beverly.


Clyne the surgeon, suave and smart

Beverly the patient, eighteen, predictably dissatisfied

With her lot in life; myopic and angelic in turns.

And Azalea, the receptionist, old and older-fashioned,

Be-crucifixed and sleepless,

Taking the phone call, naming the date.


Beverly in her new adulthood had come to claim

The curves to which she was entitled but had failed to swell

Even under her graduation gown.

And Clyne, anticipating the usual perennial bloom,

Has a special at his clinic.

He starts immediately to conjure her flesh under his,

Imagines the tawny-haunched girl

Who will come to him and request, at his hands,

A transformation.


Azalea watches his obscene glee,

How he urges the days to pass until Beverly arrives.

Azalea tosses a night under an icon of the Virgin

In pearly tears and thinks of the sedative

That Clyne at times prescribes her for insomnia and how

He had ordered extra,

For the cupboard he keeps, for weeks like these.

Does he think she hasn’t noticed?

Or does he think she has, and that he’s safe

In her apathy?

The chorus of inward prayers swells.


A careworn father signs on the line and Bev

Flounces as the doctor knew she would into the room

Picks up a TV guide, fidgets; she’s all demands.

Clyne cannot contain himself, calls her in, and

She vanishes in a flick of scarlet skirts.


The father looks alarmed. He suspects,

Recognizes. Azalea, she cannot meet his eye,

Touches the sterling feet of Christ at her throat

And thinks, once more, that it is better not to ask

For permission, but for mercy.


She writes a letter. This she sends to the families

She knows will understand at last

The new temperaments of their daughters.

She has their addresses on file.

She takes from the cupboard

All the drugs in her name,

And when she sleeps that night, she sleeps well,

And doesn’t wake.


And the careworn father, not-so-dull,

Brings his tire iron, and bashes in Clyne’s skull.

Writer’s Note

Apologies for the delay in posting this one. I lost track of how much time had passed.

I’ve been reading a book that’s part-poem and beautifully written (Pale Fire by V Nabokov), so I’ve been in a poetry state of mind; this form just kind of came out, when I started writing. I suppose this is a prose poem bookended by couplets, for no particular reason. I’m not good at traditional verse styles, but the rhythmic space that poetry occupies appeals to me. I like poetry that tells a clear story. Hopefully this still counts as flash fiction?

It decided to become Azalea’s story after the second stanza, as stories frequently decide for themselves.

I’m hoping for a lighter prompt next time, after this suspense-horror-suspense sandwich…



One Comment Add yours

  1. Sarah says:

    I like the poetry style!! ❤


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