Consciousness / The Question

By Laura Stamps


Jackie is watching another self-help video on YouTube tonight. This one tells her to accept everything in her life as if she created it. Her past. Her present. Her health. Every. Single. Thing. Makes sense. She looks at all her mistakes. So many. And stupid decisions. Too many. Choosing to fall for bad-news men instead of good ones. Staying in doomed relationships rather than walking away. “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!” Jackie shouts. But the video says not to worry. None of this is real. Only consciousness is real. And she is consciousness. And consciousness is life. She is. Life. That’s the real Jackie. But will this knowledge create a new body for her? A new life? A better life? That’s what she wants. That’s what she needs. “I guess I should watch another YouTube video to find out,” she says. “Should I? Probably. I guess. Yes?”

The Question

Sherri’s dream. Last night. In it she had x-ray vision and could see the emotional burdens others carry. Each person carried a burden that looked like an infant wrapped in a baby blanket. But beneath the blanket there was no child. Only empty space filled with smoky memories of the past. Emotional baggage. Unresolved. The heaviest of burdens. But she doesn’t carry hers in her arms. Her burden. The memories. The emotional junk from her past. The pain. She carries it on her back. And she can feel it. Even when she’s awake. Heavy. Too heavy. She wonders if it affects her posture? Does she slump beneath its weight? Do others notice? Nobody wants this garbage. No one. Not really. But how to get rid of it? She wants to drop it. This burden. Forever. Walk away. Never look back. But how to do this? How? That’s the question. 

Laura Stamps writes narrative poetry and flash fiction. She loves to play with words to create experimental forms. Life should be fun, right? Author of THE YEAR OF THE CAT (Artemesia Publishing) and IN THE GARDEN (The Moon). Winner of the Muses Prize. Recipient of 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16. Website: