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"The Importance of Blushing " by Philip Jason

Accordingly, love predates. It is the first of twelve

unique glimpses of the open petal. The others, in no

particular order: harmony, value, shine, scale, color,

scope, distance, explanation, viability, blush and resin.

-The History of Tulips


In The History of Tulips, a butterfly is a type of shadow

that has seen all twelve glimpses of the open petal.

They are common to the Third Hemisphere,

found sometimes wandering the forest hallways

of the Fourth. Their scholars have anxious jaws,

bitter, unclean fingernails and an obsession

with the bright light of television reruns,

particularly when it reflects off the skin.


Let me restate:

the skin has been flooding with blood for eons. 

It is said that the first blush was probably an accident

and we are correct to disregard it.

All attention should fall on its cousin, the second blush,

which swept outward from a cheek

and turned the colors of an entire desert.


Let me restate again:

The skin is an aura. A taffy-pulled

particle of light. There are no singing bowls

that do not sing to it, no postman

delivering sentimental letters that do not

have its scent burrowed deep into their fibers.

Without it, we are bones and organs

related loosely through lazy innuendo.

Surely in the upper spheres

there’s a kaleidoscope that the luminous tailors use

to cover our soft humanity


And yet, the butterflies, in their scholarly writings,

make no mention of such a device.

Instead, they speak of the world as a single moment

in which a holy voice whispers them into being. 

Their entire language is based

on these whispers. In it, they have over two thousand

sounds for colors, each of which comes in three

tenses. By comparison there is only one sound

for us: tchtckscht, which translates to

the pause between words that holds the color red.

Philip Jason was born and raised in NY. He graduated from The University of Pennsylvania with a degree in business. He has published in a variety of literary magazines including Prairie Schooner, The Pinch, Ninth Letter, Mid American Review, Canary and Summerset Review, and has received the Henfield Prize in Fiction. His first novel, Window Eyes, is available from Unsolicited Press.

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