Prime Number Magazine has just published its latest update—Prime Decimals 23.5. There’s flash fiction, poems, and a short essay to keep you busy until the next issue comes out next month. Below, the flash piece “Cry of the Loon Lodge” by Jeanne Holtzman. Find the rest of Prime Decimals here.
Cry of the Loon Lodge
I stand waist deep in the warm lake, listening for loons. Tiny waves splash the shore, thump the empty canoe. The skirt of my bathing suit flaps against thighs long ago gone lumpy. I see a lone kayaker approach. A young man, dark hair, swarthy skin, naked torso, perfect muscles powering each stroke. I feel no tingles, nothing so simple as sex, but that need, that compulsion to be near him, to combine with him, to devour him, to mate. A desire both nostalgic and mocking. I hear my husband call to me from the cabin where he’s icing his arthritic knee, anxious to leave before the traffic. I watch the young man paddle by, oblivious to me. I believe I feel his wake, lapping the water around my waist, hear it thrumming the canoe and tinkling the shore. Soon he will turn around the bend. I strain to hear loons, but instead the tinny jangle of “Mamma Says” erupts from the pier, the ring tone of my mother’s nursing home. I don’t move. A short silence, the chirp of the voice mail. I watch the kayaker slide around the point and disappear. Still I stand, waiting. For that wail, that lament. That lunatic laughter.