I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

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Flash Fiction

The Dublin Review of Books is pleased to announce the winners of its 2011 Flash Fiction Competition. First prize goes to Nuala Ní Chonchúir for her story “The Egg Pyramid”. Second is Percy Herbert with “Daisy” and third Eunice Yeates with “May”. The Egg Pyramid There are things you can do when your husband sleeps with your sister. You can sit in your studio and imagine them together, the toad and the mouse. Him moving over her. Her on top of him. You can hear dark skin slap against honey skin; you can hear moans. But he is your toad and she is your mouse – your Diego and your Cristina – so you drown those thoughts because they bring more tears than a blood-letting. But there are things you can do. You can take the pins from your hair and unweave the plaits. Then you can use a scissors to hack off the lengths. You can scatter the strands on the floor and on your yellow chair, where they lie like snakes. The dogs and monkeys – who still love you – can watch. You can forgo silver rings and turquoise beads. You can dress like a man, in a baggy grey suit and maroon shirt. You can hang your Tijuana dresses in the closet and shut the door on their gaiety. What else can you do? Well, you can imagine his seed nestling in your sister’s womb and blossoming. You can witness a baby – a boy, let’s say – making a hard melon of her belly. You have never had a ripe stomach. Three times that might have happened for you; three times you bled your baby out before anyone knew that you too could give life. You can look at your sister’s children and ask yourself if they have features that belong to your husband – drooping eyes, full lips, cruelty. You can count up the seven years you have lived together and you can see that there are plenty of itches to be scratched on both sides. You know that Diego’s urge to scratch burns more than yours; his need is eternal. You can leave your house and take a flat in the heart of Mexico, to create a space for your husband to sulk into and for your sister to wonder in. You can fly to New York then hurry home again, because Diego pulls on…

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