Elixir
Jeff Friedman

Drink this, she says and hands you a cup. You drink it quickly and wait for its magic to work. Your nails turn white. Your skin dries and cracks. You close your eyes and feel the heat surrounding you. There is an answer, an answer, a voice echoes. It's summer, you tell yourself, but snow falls—piles of snow everywhere. Snow banks rise to roofs. A snowy fox stops on the hill to stare back at you. Crows sit on bare branches, their faces like clocks. White butterflies burst into light. Winter turns to summer, and summer turns back into winter. Suddenly you are fighting back waves of dizziness, sweeping your own hair into a dustpail, wiping the last drops of sweetness from your lips.

Jeff Friedman has published six poetry collections, five with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including Pretenders (2014), Working in Flour (2011), and Black Threads (2008). His poems, mini stories, and translations have appeared in American Poetry ReviewPoetry, New England ReviewThe Antioch ReviewPoetry International, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Plume, Agni Online, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Storyscape, Smokelong Quarterly, The Vestal Review, 100-Word Story, The New Republic, and many other literary magazines. Dzvinia Orlowsky's and his translation of Memorials by Polish poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014. Friedman and Orlowsky were awarded an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship in 2016.


more by Jeff Friedman:
White Bird
Family Spell