Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Startling Little Brains

I was startled when I crouched down to take a close-up photo of skunk cabbage and saw this alien presence nestled inside. (It's actually the spadix, covered with minute flowers.) Like a cross between a sprouting potato and a little pink brain, it was just waiting to surprise me on a glorious spring afternoon this past weekend. Our paths happily intersected when I went for a hike with a dear friend at Macedonia Brook Park in Kent, Connecticut.

This image reminds me of a piece from my latest book, Stirring the Mirror. Here is the opening paragraph to the flash fiction piece/prose poem, "Brain in a Birdcage." To read it in its entirety, simply click on the preceding title and you will be magically transported to The Diagram, an unusual and wonderful online literary magazine. Okay, hang on to your chair, here we go:

The little brain looked like a gray walnut, splotched in places with pink iridescence. At the bottom of a rusty birdcage, it reclined on a balsam sachet, one with a picture of a bull moose foraging, and thought its wicked thoughts unencumbered by a body. If it had vocal chords, it would have cackled heh-heh-heh under its breath. It did have one good eye. The eye floated above the brain in a baby food jar filled with oil, perched on the bird swing, optic nerve connected to the brain by a coiled copper wire. Iris up, it swam back and forth, flashing opal then emerald, pupil dilating and contracting, scanning the dome of its prison for a way out. Its unused vessels, tied in a knot, swished behind the eye, like a red squid chasing a beach ball ....

If you didn't dare open the story with the link above, but now want to see what happens next, you may enter the story PORTAL HERE. Happy motoring ...

To see the true beauty of the spadix, simply click on the image to enlarge the photo.

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