James Montgomery

Words I Sign to My Five-Year-Old When They Stop Our Power

Electricity / trigger fingers collide

Off he buzzes. In the fading half-light, he live-wires the living room, charging into a dead TV, lifeless lamps. I, too, crackle with static at what’s to come.

Light / a fist explodes

He seeks the moon, but it’s smog-smothered. Then, face illuminating, he points at me. Glowing, I point at him.

Fire / fingers flicker

A candle’s lit. He doesn’t believe the small flame is enough. How do I sign that when it catches, when rage burns white-hot, when we – the people – blaze through the city tomorrow, everything in its path will be kindling?


This story was shortlisted in the February 2022 Monthly Micro Competition.

About the author: James Montgomery’s stories appear or are forthcoming in Truffle Magazine, Retreat West, FlashFlood Journal, The Hungry Ghost, Ellipsis Zine, and Janus Literary. He won ‘Best Micro’ at the 2021 Retreat West Awards. Find him on Twitter at @JDMontgomery_