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Ellen Lindquist

The Dog Cleverly Learned To Throw Its Voice

During the dog days of summer I heard the sidewalk bark. "Ruff," it went. "Ruff!" again, then I heard a guttural growl. I ran away to see what would happen. As expected, the sidewalk issued a snarl like a dog angry that its dinner dish was ripped from its mouth. I was late for an appointment so I hurried on. I returned an hour later with the hot dog seller from the next corner to serve as witness. We pressed our ears flat to the blistering pavement. I was able to discern a faint whimpering, but all the hot dog seller said he could hear was a sound like hot dogs sizzling on a grill, reminding him to go back to his stand. He was right to be concerned, for by the time he got back he found his cart overturned and a large, invisible dog casually eating burned hot dogs from the ground with relish.

In the Hawaiian Garden Where I Came to Escape Feeling Sad

Matu's feathers were a white deck of cards dipped in yellow paint, his eyes unblinking record discs. He pressed his head against the metal bars of his cage so I could pet him. When a troupe of Japanese children in matching black-and-white shorts crossed the garden's oriental bridge and marched toward him, Matu hid himself--a feather duster fettered in shade. After the children left, he alit from the shadow and began to sing again, his voice soft as fallen breadfruit.

A Piece of Depressed Cheesecake, Committed to an Asylum, Concocts An Elaborate Fantasy About a Blueberry She Remembers From Her Youth

O, blueberry, I can taste whom you left me for: a fresh tart perhaps, or a slice of key lime pie. Or is it the banana you love more than me? She can be whatever you wish her to be--a telephone, a yellow tree. It's so sexy how she drops her yellow dress, leaves it on the floor in jest. I can see you and her miles away from me sipping pina coladas beneath a yim yam tree. I've searched all that's blue for your uniqueness: lapis, ocean, skies. From coast to coast, I knocked on doors, and asked, "Has anyone seen my lost blueberry?" You were last reported rolling out of a yogurt processing plant into the dustbowl. I cried the way only a cheesecake can: big, chunky flakes of sadness rained down my triangular cheeks. Over the years, I tried tangerines, kumquats, plums, but I was never attracted to them nor to the pineapple's prickly green hat, nor to the pear--a watery fellow who drools when he speaks. Ah yes, there were some odd couplings: between myself and a pie, for example. And it's true I spent a brief time with a tangelo; it was an unhappy affair. What we saw in each other, I don't know. Oh, yes, there was a wine I entertained: he complained 'til I joined him at his table. At last, I gave up looking and went to New York. I saw my kin in every bakery bin and met my distant cousins, the blintzes. None of these mattered to the aficionado of the blueberry's round, sweet face--how he rolled around the floor as he laughed. O blueberry, it's your flesh I still crave.


To read more about Ellen Lindquist, including an author interview, go to and click on Author Profiles. Online, read her in Planet Magazine, The Cafe Irreal, Fiction Inferno and Cenotaph Pocket Editions. Her prose poem, The Erstwhile Wire-Woman, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Originally from Michigan, she lives in Atlanta.

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