Quick Work lettering, a black cat, and colorful balloons

Quick Work No. 8

Quick Work: Short Takes on Epic Truths

Here, in micro-flash nonfiction, writers make quick work of compelling stories.

close up of black cat

My Dead Kitty and My Indifferent Lover Pay Me A Visit

by Peter Houle

Eyes closed,
I feel Midnight’s padded paws on my chest,
pushing me upright
as I fall forward on them:
an impossible game of trust between man-child
and white-booted black cat,
long in the ground where,
sobbing at 18,
I laid him with a can of tuna.
It’s late; I rush to the antiques market
with my books; postcards;
a pair of golden, old-man spectacles;
an 80s World Cup souvenir plate;
open my chair and my mind
to face my buyers and my dream,
for you were there, too;
but it was Midnight gently catching me
before I hit the ground.

Photo by Kate Whouley

colorful balloons on a white ceiling

Birthday Party Behavior

by Elana Margot Santana

When I was four, my mother caught me and my friend Nikki on the bathroom floor with our velvet dresses pulled up to our necks, our white tights pulled down to our ankles, and our bodies pressed together. This was my first experience of coming out.

“This isn’t birthday party behavior,” my mother said, standing in the doorway.

I don’t remember feeling ashamed, just interrupted. My mother’s response that day was more of a lesson in etiquette than anything else. I wasn’t being sinful or wrong—it was just rude of me to keep the other kids waiting.

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

About the Writers

Peter Houle, a Vermonter, began planting seeds in Portugal seven years ago. You can find him at the Feira da Ladra, selling things he finds on the street or makes himself. He likes cats, obviously.

Elana Margot Santana is a writer, scholar, and visual artist living in the mountains of Colorado. Her work explores trauma, grief, queerness and multispecies embodiment. Recent publication credits include The Longridge Review and The Dewdrop.

The Quick Work series is curated by Multiplicity Executive Editor, Kate Whouley.

Quick Work words, colorful marbles, and a woman with big hair

Quick Work No. 7

Quick Work: Short Takes on Epic Truths

Here, in micro-flash nonfiction, writers make quick work of compelling stories.

water color of swirly marbles

On Becoming a Writer at 60

by Peter Welch

Words, birthed, tender and pink, 
welcomed into the world.
Words, at first whispering,
emergence only possible
because I love them all, 
or learn to. 
Words thrill me
as they roll off my tongue: 
Evanescence – Erudite – Equanimity
Gorgeous and tenacious words 
tumble out, cascade over, 
forging new topography,
resilient enough sounds, consonants and vowels
rubbing against each other, creating heat. 
A resonating trust begins its unfolding, 
one that urges the words 
to flush and flurry into existence,
reaching into paroxysms 
that rightly bring them forth.
Ephemeral or enduring, 
Exalted in their earthly reckonings,
and essential truths.   
Words, messy and mesmerizing, 

Watercolor, “Cat’s Eyes,” by the poet.

Hair Story

by Amie McGraham

Newlywed: She bleached her hair, the close-cropped jet black tresses enshrouded in a peroxide haze. I only saw it in a snapshot: my mother in a high-waisted leopard-skin bikini, lifeguard tower in the background. 

Divorcee: She’s 40. I’m 12. She’s sporting the Toni Tenille bowl cut, Frye boots, my great-grandmother’s mink coat, and a NOW bumper sticker on the bright blue ’57 Chevy pickup she later traded in for a Volvo station wagon.

Resident: She wheels out of the salon on the memory care unit, and I almost don’t recognize her beneath the poufy, all-white bouffant. But she knows me.

Photo of Monica Vitti, via Flickr

About the Writers

Amie McGraham grew up on an island in Maine. Her writing has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines including Brevity and Wild Roof Journal. Currently writing a novella-in-tweets, Amie also produces a weekly 100-word newsletter, the micro mashup.

Peter Welch is currently enrolled in the MFA Writing program at Bay Path University. He is also a watercolor artist and lives in Kittery Point, Maine, with his partner Michael and their rescue pup Dasher.

The Quick Work series is curated by Multiplicity Executive Editor, Kate Whouley.