Flash Travels by Elizabeth Paul


A midsummer sun sets behind a mosque, dissolving the leaves of an apple tree, and I am threaded like a needle.  Life has flooded the aperture of my heart that beats like a window in the vault of heaven.

The loudspeaker prayer of the muezzin mingles with the amplified ads in the bazaar.

Mourning doves flute over corrugated rooftops.

The sky is a flapping bedsheet on the line.

As through a sieve being comes, reduced to its finer particles.


Barren as winter trees, grim as an abandoned
lot, fragments of its façade fallen with the
desiccated leaves of last season. No one
picks up the pieces, but no one tears it down.
It’s Grandfather Lenin, after all. The shrubs
keep their distance, but the trees are misty-
Help Yourself
Help Yourself
We just walked down a village street and up
into the mountains—a direct and brutal
climb without the temperance of
switchbacks. It led to an earth we could
have rolled right off of, dropping like
crumbs onto the kitchen floor of the cosmos.
The House of Happiness
There is a billiard hall in the house of
happiness. Above the clattering gallery: 27
apartments. Assuming families of three: 71
people in a 40 X 80 X 30 foot box, plus
billiards. It’s hard to conceive. So much
can’t be contained, like our bright-feathered
dreams stretching their four-story wings.
BIO: Elizabeth Paul’s work has appeared in Cold Mountain Review, Carolina Quarterly, Cider Press Review, and elsewhere. In 2016 Finish Line Press published her chapbook Reading Girl, a collection of ekphrastic prose poems based on paintings by Henri Matisse. Liz served as a Peace Corps education volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and currently teaches ESOL and writing in the Washington, D.C. area.
Find her at elizabethsgpaul.com.

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