MINCHIATE:  Knight of Cups

"Amapola" is a Flash Fiction story based on MINCHIATE:  Knight of Cups


Astor Piazzolla’s bandoneon and its off-kilter tango play from the speaker. Amapola listens and smiles as the swallows beyond the window swirl and soar to the melody of their own natural musicality. Amapola drums her thumbs on her knobby knees and lets the music drift through her brain, unmooring long-anchored memories of bygone days, and calming the permanent staccato bob of her head. Idyllic days sway in her mind when she used to run and walk and dance. Decrepit and fragile, her body has become a prison, itself imprisoned in a wheelchair and by the reek of medicine festering through the nursing home vents. 

The music evokes her youth and the dance halls, and the sun sets the world afire as the swallows freewheel in the sky. Soon dusk glimmers through the window. The swallows fly to their nests and the world glistens in shadow and sapphire, and the wills-o-the-wisps appear from behind the ancient oak.

They dance to Piazzolla’s strange melodies and approach the window in a billowing lilt that captivates Amapola. Night falls, and the first stars glint in the sky. The gauze-like wisps define, and Amapola gazes in rapture and wonder. Ladies with pompadour hair dressed in long flowing dresses with shimmering jewels revolve in a complicated dance on the arms of dapper young men in tuxedos, spats, and tails. Glasses clink, and fizzy champagne tints the night with gold, and the soft murmur of laughter and warmth drift through the window. 

Amapola’s old and wrinkled body tingles with the cadence of Astor Piazzolla’s music, and she wishes to stand up on the skinny, fragile legs that were once young and strong, and join the dance. 

The wish leaves her heart and flutters to the dancers. One couple separates, and the dashing young man with the welcoming smile approaches Amapola extending his open palm towards her. Amapola glances at the lady who smiles and encourages her to take the offered hand.

She places her fingers on the man’s palm and lightness flows through her and elevates her tired soul. She stands up on those fragile legs that are no longer weak, but strong and healthy, and steps out of her chair. The man places his hand on her waist and leads her into the dance, and they billow and twirl and soar into the starlight, forever.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: