There’s a girl playing with a ball. The grass is green, the sky is blue, and you are watching. You must be somewhere near the ocean; a seabird flies overhead.


The girl on the grass is the leader of the team; she’s better somehow, and they follow her. The sound of the gulls is maddening, or it would be if the field of play weren’t so compelling. You clap and clap and clap; you grin and grin and try to stop but you can’t.


The sound of applause condensates and forms a fragile hive, ephemeral green so translucent you can see the cars, inert as dead asteroids, behind it. There is nothing more to hear, no wind, no breath. The stilled ball glints in the air, faceted like the eyes of a mantis.


Over the grass, the girl is running. Is she the one? The lovely princess, the one they’ll flaunt and tie to a rock, her mythic flanks as smooth as real skin, her nipples salt-wet and pink in the glare of the sea?


A small girl is alone with a ball at the end of an open field. You walk toward her, nonchalant, sweating.


a team, yoked and waiting
for the word: twenty-four eyes
full of lashed consent roll
toward you, the bloom of self-
content, the One and Only
daughter, daughter, daughter


The woman sits alone with her hands; she wasn’t Andromeda after all. She isn’t naked and isn’t really all that beautiful; she’s in some kind of rocky place with little atmosphere but it certainly isn’t Greece.You feel a bit of pity for her anyhow. Who put her here? Did she come of her own accord, whipping herself to escape velocity? Did anyone even mourn? The shadows here are long, and lengthening.


The ball rolls through the air in a lazy arc. The girls cheer, the crowd cheers, and the gulls cry out. You turn away; darkness will be here soon and with it, ten thousand nameless stars. 


Laura W. Allen (formerly Laura F. Walton) is a poet, visual artist, and instructor living in Seattle. She has taught for the Writer's Garret of Dallas and McLennan Community College, and her work has appeared in numerous publications and journals such as Bathtub Gin, S/tick, and Strange Horizons.