Three Prose Shorts | Kurt Cline

Sam Hill
Mr. Kalliope was bending by the stream, pouring mackerel in a bucket, when Vincent clambered out of the chicken-coop. There he’d slept the sleep of the long-since dead and decomposed while that thievin’ coyot’ name of Sam Hill made off with a barley sack of hens and some (in the process) slightly damaged eggs. “Where in Sam Hill yabeen?” asked Mr. K. “I’ve been to the Graceland to visit the King,” Vincent replied, and pulled a pin-feather from the hole where his ear used to be.
The Mermaid
The Princess of Cups wiggled her toes and I melted though aquarium glass to join her. I walked across crunching sand in leaden deep-sea-diver boots. Everything was shadowy in her underwater world. Her face and the giant clamshell she held in her hands were deep green. Only her cloak rippled with refracted sunlight.  She led me to a little gazebo. A sea-tortoise gamboled by. When we spoke, bubbles wiggled to the surface where Achilles was doing the Australian crawl. “A man could get lost in a place like this,” I told her. “Only if he couldn’t be found,” she said.
The Noble Ant
I was ant #HGL73385667403, late of the Great Campaign to Secure a Crumb of Bread. At dawn we crossed Silver Knife Bridge over the deep ravine between sink and stove. We followed the formic acid trail left by our scouts up the side of the wall and along Extension Cord Trail to the top of the refrigerator. Here, our fortunes changed. A twinge of camphor oil suffused the terrain. One of our numbers turned back in warning but the others plunged ahead.
Kurt Cline is an Associate Professor of English and World Comparative Literature at the National Taipei University of Technology. His full-length book of poetry, Voyage to the Sun, was published by Boston Poet Press. Poems, stories, and scholarly articles have appeared and are appearing in a wide variety of journals.