Exquisite Duet (formerly Exquisite Quartet) is not so much a composition between two writers, but rather something created within the murky midlands of each author’s mind, yet set off by the same first sentence. Meg Tuite chooses two writers each month and gives them a first sentence to start with and a 250-word limit to finish an exquisitely mesmerizing story or poem. These duet-dueling writers will craft two completely different cosmos that have rotated, pitched, and blasted from the depths of their cerebral cortex to the twitching nerve endings of their digits onto dueling keyboards and separate screens until their sublime duet is prepared to see the light of an audience.
From the sky
by Mia Avramut
We ignored whole acres of our silence,
whole fields, whole mountains and valleys.
There came the words, shattered rock avalanche,
and there came the rivers.
Geography unraveled at ends.
Yet you were not lost.
Waves that tongue tectonic lake lips
and palms of trees feeding shadows
to the mirror’s edge, once a glacier.
Voice of the newly-minted shaman
as he tells of the great mask of fire
and last summer butterflies quicken.
Snake tongue veins forked in two syllables ↼
thunder syllables against lightning syllables ↼
to cleave open oblivion geodes.
Amber tears from a bustling beehive
of primordial clouds born at sunset.
Then salt-drizzle kisses turned trammels for blood.
The boreal blue of frost grass,
the slate of remembrance,
the bronze of cormorant feathers,
and molten meteor night crater,
all trapped in an iris.
The kind of will that fills light when it
encounters the darkness at the end of the tunnel
and yields to the prism in raindrops
to cry seven colors.
All the crystalline rocks we tossed over our shoulders,
and they became many men, many women.
All that we spoke, and existed.
Verily ↼ my freed echo shouts
as we stroll the new landscape↽
this man is an advertisement
for the sky.
by Barry Graham
We ignored whole acres of our silence knowing we lacked the seeds to fill them. We feigned love until harvest, when more substantial proof was required to keep the fraud in motion. Our fields lie barren. Our fields lie. Our. Lie. We ignored our wasteland, our empty silos, the passing of entire seasons until the endless mudslide forced us into collapse. Less sudden though, more tectonic. More in the way volcanoes erupt. Killing everyone it could have protected if only nature was a little kinder. More in the way bad seeds refuse germination. More in the way our silence grew. Always more. Until nothing was left but us. Until nothing was left.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mia Avramut is a Romanian-American writer and artist who worked in laboratories and autopsy rooms from Pittsburgh to San Francisco. Her poetry and prose have recently appeared in Prick of the Spindle, Thrice Fiction, Conclave: a Journal of Character, Escape into Life, Santa Fe Literary Review, Petrichor Machine, Paper Nautilus, and several anthologies. She lives in Essen, Germany.
Barry Graham is a simple man, who writes about simple things, very simply. Look for him online at barrygfunk.blogspot.com