two flashes


Missed My Stop

I always go to the Philly Flower Show, which I shouldn’t do, because I buy too many plants, and it’s hard to get them home. I waddle to the subway, arms hurting, but the plants don’t care. Some repay me in blooms. On my Walkman, the last song I hear before I fall asleep is “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” by the Partridge Family, popular in the year I was born, 1971. 

I miss my stop. My pitcher plant that I just bought from a North Carolina Flower Show vendor says nothing. Maybe it enjoys the ride despite having nothing to eat. A man sits down beside me and apologizes for waking me. He doesn’t mean it. He wants to talk, maybe because of my rainbow tee. “Mind you, I don’t have affairs with men often, but I’m discreet. I keep my wife in the dark.” I must be a priest—confessions aim for me. 

A come-on? He could sit elsewhere. My gaydar often goes on the blink. I get off at a stop far from my home on Camac Street, too far to get back lugging my plants. I take a cab, pricey, but I’m lucky to flag one down on a night that has grown foggy. I go right to bed as it’s 11:30. I don’t stay up late hardly ever. In the morning, I don’t wake up in love. I go to work, another subway ride, at Amtrak. I remember the stranger with the double life. My own life is more than double. I know how to add but not subtract. 

I have hundreds of lives and many plants. Kind of a family. The years are clanky cars rounding bend after bend. Until I have no more stops. 


I walk down Market Street to the Liberty Bell, still cracked. I’m Lincoln Sproul and I drift in and out of tourists and field trippy school kids. Not named after Abe, I was named after Lincoln Tyler, a character on All My Children. My mom liked him and said we’ll call him Lincoln. 

While I loiter near the Bell, a thunderstorm pops up. It’s terrible, lightning flashes and sheeting rain. People scurry for cover, but I stay put. It’s just flashy water. What’s the big deal? We get wet. It happens. 

Some friends call me Linc the kook. Most of the time they wrap themselves in a blanket of electronic dots called the Internet. No one wants to miss the latest Tweet. I don’t Tweet, FaceBook, Instagram, or TikTok. A storm comes and each raindrop is a kiss. 

When the storm ends, I walk back home. My apartment on Chestnut Street is a good two-and-a-half miles away. By the time I get home, I’m partly dry. I fit into my small apartment like a knife in a silverware drawer. The sun comes out. Actually, it barges in. Even if I keep the door closed, it’s like a demanding yellow dog. I turn on the weather station and see that it should be dark in an hour. I like the dark. It makes no demands. I keep the lights off and rest in it, drink it like warm soup.


Kenneth Pobo has a collection of micro-fiction out from Deadly Chaps called Tiny Torn Maps.