Thursday, December 17, 2020

Short-Short First Prize: "An interval of time just before the onset" by Sarina Bosco

by Short-Short Editor Kaye Linden

Why did I choose Sarina Bosco's "An interval of time just before the onset" for a first prize?

The wind, first, coming in through the open windows like a gasp sets the vision for an oncoming storm or hurricane. In a short-short story or flash, the title and the first line must grab the reader before the onset, and the author does a great job with the entrance into this world. The powerful language in this short-short paints a picture with effective word choices.

vibrant, velvet, virgin leaves unfurling to swell in the thick air.

Note the alliteration of the "v" sound followed with vowels that continue throughout the sentence. Akin to a deep hum, this onomatopoeic sentence warns of wind, rain, and the grumble of thunder far off.

Through word choice and poetic device such as simile (like tragedy or purpose or fate), alliteration (wood and water), and assonance (buttercups torn in an updraft), we feel the escalating humidity that drapes like a woolen blanket over calves . . . drawing down against the pressure change. Floridians understand this palpable weight, the intense pressure of a pending storm, the electrical activity that lifts the fine hair of the body.

Throughout this piece, there rumbles an approaching entity: so softly, at first, that it isn't even heard. However, the reader feels the pending crack with the repetition of one, two--reminiscent of heavy footsteps, the coming of what?

The answer to the question of what is coming had an overarching reach this spring and summer. We felt the unfurling of the COVID-19 virus, the fear in the air, ourselves tucked away in our tangles of forsythia as we sheltered in place. Soft at first we held our breath until the tragedy of delayed response swept us into our global fate. How appropriate that this piece suggests the coming of many dark storms into our lives.

This short-short is a cornucopia of language, ensconced within the rhythm of the patter of rain. The voice of the author vibrates throughout. We imagine ourselves heavy tongue feathered against an open mouth . . . the slightest arch in the neck . . . holding breath and waiting--one, two . . . here it comes.

I chose this piece because of its language choices, rhythm, visualization, the metaphorical description of a coming storm, the appropriateness of its subject matter on many levels, and the skill with which the author unfurled this lovely piece. 

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  Read Sarina Bosco's "An interval of time just before the onset" on page 1,
as well as other engaging works of Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry,
Short-Short, and Humor in Bacopa Literary Review 2020

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