Quick Work No. 10

Quick Work: Short Takes on Epic Truths

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

Border Collie on a beach, wet and smiling

The Existential Wisdom of Border Collies

by Jones Irwin

A veteran winter swimmer, Cathy, suited up, dives in with her Border Collie, Rossi. 

Rossi, his black and white coat soaked through, remembers previous masters who didn’t appreciate his exuberant energy, who tried to beat the happiness out of his hardy body. 

I’ve chosen not to invest in a wet suit as, frankly, they look ridiculous. My extremities feel like they are going to fall off, and not just my hands. 

Rossi, healed by Cathy and the waves, knows that none of us are here for very long, and we might as well die by extremity as by anything else.

Photo by C Perret on Unsplash

Perons in colorful plaid jacket and ski goggles

Winter Season

by Sharon Goldberg

I sling my skis over my right shoulder, the non-arthritic one. They’re girlie skis with green and yellow polka dots, the edges sharp to carve turns through hard-packed snow and ice, the bottoms freshly waxed to glide through soft snow and powder. My bindings are calibrated to release if I take a major tumble. A neoprene brace anchors my funky left knee. I’m no expert or daredevil, but I have taken risks. Will I today? I feel the flutter that proceeds my first run of the morning. I’m sixty-six, but I like to think I haven’t peaked yet. 

Photo courtesy of the author

Solo Trip to Mamani, 1995

by Maria Luisa Arroyo Cruzado

Two pomegranates on dark cloth with a black background

Among bobbing black chadors and bearded men in the Khomeini Airport, I hear Mamani’s  “Maria-jan!” She rushes, embraces me, her daughter-in-law.
Later, Mamani and her daughters laugh as I reach toward salamanders skittering up cement walls. Palm huge pomegranates. Fumble with the chador slipping from my head like rain.
I was 28, and months before my trip, Mamani lost the man she loved. Her only living son had named Mamani’s brother the executor of the world she was not allowed to claim.
At supper, when I praised her cooking, Mamani asked me: What else do I have?

Photo by Cath Smith on Unsplash

About the Writers

Multilingual Boricua poet & intersectional feminist educator María Luisa Arroyo Cruzado writes about her experiences with the four cultures and languages that inform her identity and her creativity: Puerto Rican Spanish, American English, German, and Farsi.

Sharon Goldberg is a Seattle writer whose work has appeared in anthologies and literary magazines, including The Gettysburg Review, New Letters, The Louisville Review, Cold Mountain Review, River Teeth, Jellyfish Review, Southern Indiana Review and Gargoyle.

Jones Irwin describes himself as a postmodern existentialist, a dash of noir mixed in with a progressivist ethic. He teaches Philosophy and Education in Dublin, Republic of Ireland, and writes across the genres of philosophy, fiction and poetry.

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