By the Third Week Two Prose Poems by C.C. Russell

By the Third Week

Coating darkness. Snowflakes corkscrew through the branches of barren trees. Breath nearly the only thing visible before our faces. James was the first of us to go, but none of us had quite been able to see what it was that had dragged him away. Only the tracks of his heels—twin troughs extending back through the trees until you could no longer see. None of us offered to leave the fire to look for him. By that time, we all knew that there was no use. Instead, we inched forward within our faltering circle of light until we were inhaling mouthfuls of smoke, until we were so close—nestled into one another.

A Start

Listening to songs that still wilt you a little from even a decade out. The breeze circles and the leaves flutter down outside, a quiet crackling accompanying the caterwaul of the strays. Scarecrow witches and empty sheets masquerading as ghosts. You’re trying to see this as a beginning rather than an end. But this season, the way it closes you up. So much moving around you while you are still. Here. Listening.

C.C. Russell currently lives in Wyoming with his wife, daughter, and two cats. He holds a BA in English from the University of Wyoming and has held jobs in a wide range of vocations. His poetry has appeared in the New York Quarterly, Rattle, and Whiskey Island among others. His short fiction has appeared in The Meadow, Kysoflash, and MicrofictionMondayMagazine, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in The Best Small Fictions.