Two Fictions

Corey Mesler

I am an Open Book

What I don’t know could fill a book. This is that book. Its blank pages a revelation to you who have known me for too long. Sometimes, and it’s not as often as it used to be, late at night, I reach for the phone that still holds your number. Your face then is fresh before me like a fire. I wait till this passes and you fade away, another melting glass of mutagen. What I don’t know could fill this book, its bland pages a revolution in which you are over-thrown. I write your name next to the star. I write my own name and then erase it. I was told by a shaman that this could exorcise demons. The TV shows nothing but burning airlines. The TV shows nothing but freezing oil wells. I say to the silence, break me. I say to your eidolon, dance with me, here in the living room, just to limn existence itself, just to shake the old bugs loose, the ones with which I build my story.

That’s Why, He Said

He said, I don’t drink since the accident. He looked at his hands the whole time he spoke. He said, she looked so good in that dress. When she danced, well, it did something to me. It broke things apart in me. He said, when she left she took those things with her. He was not someone I knew well and I didn’t know what to say back to him. The way he spoke hurt me, made me feel vulnerable in some way I hadn’t in a long time. And the way he kept looking at his hands unnerved me. He said, I need a drink sometimes but I know better. But that doesn’t stop the needing. He said, she wouldn’t stop laughing. That’s why, he said.

COREY MESLER has published in numerous journals and anthologies. His novel, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue, was released in 2002. His second novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006. He has also published numerous chapbooks. He has been nominated for a Pushcart numerous times, and one of his poems was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN. He can be found at