They tell us about the veils. About the flowers plucked from ditches before they drown in rainwater. How they’ll tremble in our hands. About the sugar on our lips and the wine that feels like swallowed starlight.

They don’t tell us about the men standing in the yellow courtyard smoking. Leaning against archways, doorways, watching. How the ghost of smoke trails through parted lips. Or when the door is closed, the shutters locked against a violet sky. How rough an unshaven cheek feels. How it burns.


Linda Niehoff’s short fiction has appeared in TriQuarterly, SmokeLong Quarterly, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere.