"I am straddling the line between elegance and frenzy." Tick Tock... by Isaac James Flores As my grandmother entered old age, she developed dementia. Doctors said it was brought on by cholesterol build-up in her brain. She lost interest, as many dementia patients do, in nearly everything. She would sit, doe-eyed and complacent, asking me for the fifth time to what was on the news or reminding me for the fourth time to feed the cats. Her skin was pallor, almost translucent. She was made of glass, delicate and pumped full of toxins like the cigarettes that she smoked; only a third of the way before crumpling and throwing them into the yard. Minutes later, she would spark up another and try again. One sweltering afternoon, I came home and asked her what she was doing. After a second, she replied, "Waitin' to die." To most, it would seem cynical, but I thought my brain-clogged, coffee-breathed grandmother made tons of sense. A few months later her wait ended. And now, I stare at the crippled cigarettes in the yard, stark against the yellowed grass. I stand by as the cats go hungry, bloody claws ripping at one another for a single scrap. For the first time, I sit and wonder what to do to pass the time. Planes of Silence by Isaac James Flores My heavenly bodies no longer speak. The stars have stopped their whispers. I am left with the weak—yet incessant—beat of my fractured heart. I no longer speak to the wind, nor share secrets with the trees. How sad it is when their leaves speak words that can be learned with ease. I don’t know what changed, humans rarely do. I am crying again, but I can’t say for what, for who. Maybe, for everyone that I have ever known. For now-silent planes, stars, leaves— all that once was home. Drunk and depressed, bathed in something else. We try to care, to heal, to help— couldn’t cure ourselves. Tears, mine or theirs, are worthless when no one really cares. Untitled by Isaac James Flores I remember, searching amid the greenery for the bright yellow petals of the flowers with the soured stem. I remember, our faces puckered and we all laughed under the happy, blue sky, knitting together wreaths and bracelets of dandelions. Now, the sky isn’t blue, and those stems aren’t soured. Maybe it’s because, we are. A Fine Fragrance by Isaac James Flores He wore a cologne of shameless lies, false promises, and I inhaled deeply of it. I used to love the way my bed would smell when I knew he had lain there. Even my own clothes reeked of the intoxicating miasma, flashback to a scene of me picking my old shirts out of the laundry just to take one more breath. Thanks for reading. It means a lot to me. Feel free to tell me what you think.