Ralph & Alice by Kyle Hemmings

They always did things together. Like fly fishing and trying to conceive. When that failed, they bought a pet. In late middle age, they even stroked out at the same time. Their precocious monkey, Mr. Hobbs, dialed 911. Out of rehab, Alice walked with a tilt, became obsessed with Ralph’s old fish hooks, a tinderbox labeled Alice Knows Best. Slowly, her childhood came back to her, a summer of mystic signs and fading ice cream trucks. She remembered katydids clinging to tall blades of grass and they would never forego the secrets of the earth. As for Ralph, he studied her post-its on the fridge door, wondered if it was some form of Arabic. She reminded him to feed Mr. Hobbs, for her, it was like an only child. They watched reruns of Carol Burnett or The Honeymooners. On the sofa, there was always this distance of about 10 inches between them. They knew that in time it would be bridged and they would fall asleep together on that same couch, dreaming lucidly, each the other’s astral projection.

do not resuscitate…
i unplug your brain, place it in a jar
listen to it sing


Kyle Hemmings has work featured in {b}oink, Airgonaut, Matchbook, Burning Word, and elsewhere. He is also the co-editor of Yavanika Press.


*Photo by Kenny Luo