Category Archives: Grant Farley

Congruent Triangles by Grant Farley

This is a story of simple geometry:

The angle of the earth to sun, light fracturing
this horizon into shifting hues along
the final lapping of the waves.

The angle of an old man ankle deep in the sea
to a son tripping along the hard damp edge
to a grandson, legs churning a softer, forgiving sand.

Measure the old man:

Reaching, reaching to catch this pink disc,
this circle wobbling to the earth beyond finger tips,
yet still he has the will to lift it.

Flinging it in a brittle arc
to his son with the faint hope
his boy will be there in time.

Calculate the son:

Running to compensate
for the errant toss
of his father.

Taking care in throwing to his own son
so that it is always just within his reach
pushing him a little farther with each toss.

Factor in the child:

Intent only on that pink disc
hovering hovering hovering
until it drops into his grasp.

Then laughing spinning and tossing
just out of reach of that very old man
and finally dashing to snatch it from the trembling hand.

The area of a triangle equals half the product of a base and the height to that base:

The area of their triangle is now filled by this sand
that has replaced the life
of a woman…

Wife to mother to baba
mother to baba to wife
baba to wife to mother.

Do parallel lines fly on forever?


Return to This Week’s Flash


Filed under Grant Farley

Guidance Systems by Grant Farley

Pasadena, 1959

“Who will live and who will die?” His wife asked as they lay in bed.

“Is this one of those psychological puzzles? If seven people are on a desert island and one has to go…”

“No. You will choose who enters. Power of life and all that. Does your brother die?”

He sat up. “Eddie lives too far away. He’ll never make it.”

“So it’s a matter of geography.”

“No…well, in a way, yes.”

“Amy’s little friend next door?”

“Christ, I don’t…No.”

“Then innocence is not a factor.”

“She’s not family.”

“Not family.”

He stared at their moonlit comforter. “It may never happen.”

“Who do you suppose is at the other end of your bombs?”

“I design guidance systems, not bombs. You know that. Anyway, they’re our bombs. All our bombs.”

“…our bombs, then?”

“A military target.”

“Perhaps there’s another scientist over there being told the same thing.”

He moved his hand toward hers. “Why are you doing this?”

She moved hers away. “Why are you doing this?”

“By ‘this’ do you mean providing a good life for you and the girls? Defending our country? Or building our bomb shelter in the event…”

“They are the same.”

“What has gotten into you?”

“I will not go into your shelter.”

“Yes, you will.”

“No. Look at me. I will never go in.”

“Why does it have to be like this?”

“Are you still building it?”

He paused. “Yes.”


Return to This Week’s Flash


Filed under Grant Farley

Homies by Grant Farley

I hop up the wooden steps, my summer feet too tough for splinters, and slip through the back porch and plop down next to Manny on the wicker. Somewhere beans simmer in cast iron. Abuelita‘s face is dark skin folds.

She is Manny’s grandma, not mine. But I’ve sort of adopted her. Her iced cinnamon coffee wobbles in her hand as she heads for us. She always wears a black dress and these thick black shoes that clunk on the hollow floor. She sits down facing us and eases the glass onto the ledge and lets out a sigh.

Then she pats her knees and leans back like she’s going to sing-song one of her tales about funny people, the earth and the sky, animals that talk, and even witches, brujas, as Manny squeezes the sounds into English for me. There is always a lesson for us.

I wait, staring out at a world gone soft through old screens. Under that cinnamon coffee breath she has this old lady purplish smell. But the way Abuelita’s mouth scrunches, I’m figuring our b.o. must be pretty funky after all we had just done. There is not tale.

Instead, she stares at her Manny and then back at me. She’s wondering, finally, whether she wants her mijo hanging out with this freckled bandito.


Return to This Week’s Flash


Filed under Grant Farley