My ruminations don’t come preformed in neat complete sentences with subjects, verbs and objects, beginning with capital letters and ending with periods (what the British call full stops, hexagonal red symbols of written language); rather my contemplations appear in my mind as fragments that start and pause and pick up again, that change direction and double back on themselves, that sometimes s-l-o-w   w-a-y   d-o-w-n and come to a near halt—as you may be tempted to do at a stop sign when no cars are in sight—and then plunge ahead; but they’re always connected in an erratic and inexplicably continuous narrative that switches on with my pre-dawn awakening and runs all day (like our ceiling fans in August), punctuated by comma and semicolon pauses, by parentheses for explication and dashes for enhancement, by asterisks that act as mental notes in the margin, by question marks and exclamation points, not to close off the dialogue but rather to ask or assert … and even when my thoughts start to evaporate, before they dissolve completely around ten p.m., there’s an ebb, a gradual subsiding, and I can almost hear the dot-dot-dot, the slow, even syncopation of ellipses, those three-dot placeholders, the last ticks of consciousness that lull my brain to temporary cessation, and while the last of these may finish with a fourth dot—the finale, the inevitable full stop—I don’t see the sign, hear its clang, or feel that definitive plop: I’m switched off for the night….


Alice Lowe

Alice Lowe’s flash fiction and nonfiction have been or will be published this year in Hobart, JMWW, Door Is a Jar, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Burningword Literary Journal. Her essays have been cited in the Best American Essays and nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. She writes about life and literature, food and family in San Diego, California, and posts her work at

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