Timeline: FlashBack’s Fourteenth Season
Somehow, it’s summer already! We have some absolutely amazing things waiting for you next season, with pieces scheduled right up until the end of the year, but for now, we’re taking our regularly-scheduled little summer pause. However, before we go, here’s a quick reminder of our last season’s historical flash and prose poetry offerings. And of course, as always, you can find our full back catalogue over at our Timeline. Happy reading!
1536: An Encounter Between the Poet and the Mantis by Vanessa Couchman
I think of him rather as a green insect, such as I encountered when walking on a steep Tuscan hillside in untroubled days. The emerald creature poised motionless on a branch of juniper, its front legs held before it, waiting to pounce.
1683C.E.-1799 CE via 2010=2019 CE (e.g. the high Qing era as seen from the Chinese harem drama television era): The Peony Hairpin by Q.Y. Tie
The empress dowager whispers open the seals between her selves. The empress stabs the dying emperor with her peony hairpin, watches his blood spurt in impossibly bright streaks, listens to his impossibly hurt accusations.
1788: A Quiet Day in Hell by Mary Byrne
She knows each sheet intimately. Four priests live in the presbytery, her brother the oldest, her son the youngest. In a few years from now both will be dead because of the Revolution, her brother from sadness, her son guillotined. She will live to mourn them both.
1796: The 1796 Spinning Wheel List by Karen Walker
At supper, he declares the flax can spare one boy. But neither the straightest nor the tallest of the crop. He points to Abraham. ‘You will wear clean britches and a coat — blue like a flax flower — and sit with the schoolmaster and books.’ The other brothers, straighter and taller, twist in their chairs and cross their tanned arms.
1870s: The Inheritance by Joyce Bingham
My widows’ weeds are stiff in their newness, the taffeta rustles, the heavy jet necklace thumps my chest, keeping time with my rock of a heart. I look around the study, his books, his leather chair at the fire. He never stinted on having that fire aglow, my drawing room cold whilst he drank and read in comfort.
1933: Der Bibliophile by Nicola Davison
My timeworn lungs buckle, but I don’t want to close the window.
I push it wide open to be reacquainted with Freud, Kafka, and Hemingway as they rise, shifting and swirling to reach me. It stings to breathe them in, but still, I inhale every charred word.
1938: Kaala Paani by Mandira Pattnaik
Bakru can’t sleep because his father can’t because his mother can’t, so he turns on the bed rags and watches the rain through the open window, rain so insistent it doubles up to cover for his father sobbing and his mother trying to drown hers with the pillow, for there’s a time between now and noon tomorrow when the boots will come…
1952: What We Believed by D.E. Hardy
Art class was the best hour of the week; Miss Cunningham’s poster of the color wheel told the truth—everything had an opposite—blue to yellow, green to red; our desks were magic shields; sharpened pencils smelled like progress; Billy Sullivan was a genius because he knew things like England just got the bomb, and Brad Majors was right when he said the Russians were gonna get it—it was two against one now….
1979 or after: RRS Discovery: by Struan Gow
She cannot glimpse the sea. She cannot feel it wrap around her hull—salt within the wood, burning hot to cold warping her skin. She cannot hear its rhythm like she cannot hear her heart. They have taken that from her and pinned her on a wall.
Photograph via depositphoto, ID 44975909.