Poetic devices can help stories convey emotions, relationships and scenes in few words. I plan to include “Drifting,” a story from “The Ice Cream Vendor’s Song,” in my collection, “Just in Case,” because I think it’s a good example of poetic flash fiction. A poet once brought it to a class of young poets she was instructing. She said it would inspire them to explore. I was honored and gave the OK. One of the great things about publishing today is that authors get to make so many decisions. I just heard from the editor I picked for this new collection. She’s finished reviewing the manuscript, we’ll meet soon. The book is one step closer to being done.

Here’s the story:


She is a rainbow fading as she loads the laundry. He is an old Chevy idling on the couch. He sees a brilliant arch of color turning as she reaches for the Tide. She turns toward him and sees a fast ride down a dirt road on a long-ago sunburned evening.

She shakes the detergent box and hears seashell and driftwood chimes. She pours the powder into the washer, closes the lid, turns the dial. The machine rumbles; the waterfall comes.

“What would you like for lunch?” she asks.

The coffee table is a creaking pier, the carpet a beach of turquoise sand. “I think I’d like …”

He closes his eyes and becomes a boat drifting in a leather sea. She sits in the rocker facing him. She rocks. She rocks. She rocks and becomes the wind. She becomes the wind blowing him to shore. He opens his eyes.

“What would you like for lunch?” she asks.

Note: I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment here, and I’ll reply as soon as possible. Thanks for reading.

Sign up here to receive your free copy of Just In Case

Subscribe to Laura McHale Holland’s newsletter

Thank you! Watch your inbox, your welcome email should arrive soon.