The streetlights flicker out, and the traffic signal at the far end of Front Street’s yoke snaps on; stopping nothing, warning nothing, rushing nothing on.
—Breece D’J Pancake, from “The Honored Dead”
Poets think in lines, prose writers in sentences; the best of both work from sound to sense, with an ear for the music in their compositions. S for Sentence celebrates lyricism in prose, the play and craft at work in the artful sentence. We post a sentence a month along with comments by a guest writer on the craft that shapes it, on what makes it great. In one or two sentences.
—Pearl Abraham, Editor
We find ourselves at a shift change—a moment of silence, when the night is over, but day break is still on the other side of a ridge. The street lights don’t shut off, they FLicker oFF; the traFFic signal is not just on Front street, but on the FaR end of FRont STReet. The repetition of the F’s and S’s coast us down the road (and sentence) from one end to the other, from dying light to flashing light. The “on” that ends the first half of the sentence returns at the end of the second half. The lights are on, yes, but it is early still, in the pre-traffic hours of early morning, so that the work of these lights is still to come. For now, though “on,” they are “stopping nothing, warning nothing, rushing nothing on” because we are situated in the emptiness of predawn paralysis. The thrice repeated “nothing” alerts us to something beyond the scene, reminds us that even in darkness we must bear witness: We seem to be in a dark mineshaft, where Pancake spent his own short life.
—Andrew Mondry’s stories and essays have appeared in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Cahoodaloodaling, and Jerry: The Magazine