AMY MARQUES: an incomplete list of all the books I’ll never write

Flash Fiction by Amy Marques


10 Birthday cakes

9 Christmas mornings

8 Summer vacations (nobody went anywhere that one year)

7 Favorite rocks on your nightstand: lined by size, only the smallest sporting googly eyes

6 School portraits

5 Sleepovers (if you count the time you napped while Pete’s mom made you both popcorn)

4 Gold medals (two for Math Olympics, one for a Halloween costume, and one I cannot place)

3 Times you begged me to let you stay home while I did a grocery run. I am big enough!

2 Reminders to please fasten seatbelt


“If You Wanna Know If He Loves Her So”: 

Convincing Your Mother-in-Law You’re Enough

1.     Bake.

2.     Discard seven lopsided attempts (and an eighth cake baked to the tune of Eilish’s “Bad  Guy.”

3.     Lick frosting off fingers.

4.     Spit out salty blob.

5.     Repeat (with sugar).

6.     Study geometry. 

7.     Master equity (practice slicing on bad-guy-cake). 

8.     Soak knife in warm water.

9.     Place ONE candle with NO numbers in precise center.

10.  Pray while lip-synching Happy Birthday.

11.  Powerlessly watch your baby grab a fistful of cake.

12.  Hear saccharine: Grandma wouldn’t trust your father to slice a cake either, sweetie.

13.  Stare her down. Stick out tongue. Lick off frosted hearts.

An Incomplete List of All the Books I’ll Never Write:

My Small Dimensions

Rippling Effects 

Powerful Spillovers

Loved into Becoming 

Architecting a Life

Pace and Cadence

Let Sleeping Bears Slumber 

These Are the Things We Remember

Favorite Lots of Things

Bookmark Memories 

If We Didn’t Have This, We Wouldn’t Have This 

The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste 

Learning is Better Than Knowing 

Nobody Cheats Death

Silence: A Chosen Audio 

Acquainted with the Moon

Holding Out Hope 

I Defer to the Mist

As I Sunset Gracefully

Breathless Confessions

I saw a man fall today, although I think he didn’t fall of his own accord since he tripped after someone who was walking too fast bumped into him although maybe the pedestrian meant to push him down but I try not to think about such things because I am not a hero but instead I am the shadow in the playground who hovers, not taunting, not pushing, not laughing, not joining the bullies but carefully doing nothing and becoming  voiceless and failing to act while leaving victims to face their fears alone or, even worse, the peacemaker who holds a prey’s hand while reassuring their oppressors that they are not completely wrong just maybe a little misguided and there’s no reason to rock the boat because maybe things can change without too much of a shift or effort because who doesn’t want high praise and accolades while traveling the easy road and making choices with no thought for future consequences or the need to stoop down to pick up the fallen from the filth of their existence when it is much easier to turn towards the blue sky and remain righteously clean and walk past the man who fell while telling myself he was likely acquainted with the ground and might even feel at home on the sidewalk and wouldn’t want my help anyway because I wouldn’t understand and had nothing to give except all the things he didn’t have and I took for granted, so I could smile at the sun shining down on my face knowing that it’s okay not to stop and help because I am not a hero.

Amy Marques grew up between languages and cultures and learned, from an early age, the multiplicity of narratives. She penned three children’s books, barely read medical papers, and numerous letters before turning to short fiction. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in anthologies and journals including Star82 Review, Jellyfish Review, Flying South, and  Streetcake: Experimental Writing Magazine. You can find her at @amybookwhisper1 or read more of her words at

Flash Boulevard is edited by Francine Witte. Banner photograph Wes Candela.

Published by poetrybay

Flash Boulevard is a product of, since 2000 a flagship online poetry publication.

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