Leslie Benigni

Green Fuses/Halcyon

               I walk this way every day. 

Potential student candidates gather in the Floor 1 Lobby with their parents and university coordinators.

               The flow is out of sync.

               Exhalations become more apparent.

               I notice more than ever that I am shoulder to shoulder with every other student.

               Floor 1 Lobby is shaped like an eye in its ENTERING and EXITING.

               Parallel lines and then curves in the center to make way for the center circle the potential students are gathered around. 

               They’re peering up at the prized possession of our campus:

                     [one of the last remaining trees on

               We’ve been told it’s an ancient oak tree collected before the fourth World War when plants use to filter and create oxygen. 

               Before the discovery of catalytic oxygen transmitted from the surface of metal.

               Students have been told it cost the university millions of dollars. 

               Something to be proud of.

               {It feels somehow unnatural here.}

               The lobby is relatively dark except for the 

               large round artificial light that shines down on 

               the tree–

               I think I probably should since this is my last semester and will never see a [marvel] again. 

               I’m the only one in the swarm that turns my head to consider it

               (at least from what I can see.)

               The sight of the wisping, 

               strong, leaved tentacles 

              fill me with the fear of giants but the

              [serenity?] of going home.

               I can feel my breath smoothening, the edges of anger rounding out. 


               I come home from campus after midnight.

               I hadn’t realized how late my stay at the library was.

              The evening train was the same.

              I was no one 

              and everyone—

              My silhouette stays within the doorway (I see my black presence in the window).

               I’m in my own space alone.

              The small blinking blue light from the living room means my forgotten laptop is finally charged.

              Flips on the lights.

              Flips off all lights except one by the desk.

              My presence is one large sigh, even in my own home.

Dr. Abdur Raqeeb Bashir
Mon 3/15/2109 5:32pm

To: Silas Angharad
Cc: Neve Szinger, Micah Welch +2more

Hi Silas, 

Hope all is well this semester as you wrap up your National Remembrance Reports. Sorry for the delay in response, but the folks from the Library of Remembrance (some of whom I’ve cc-ed within this email) were trying to remain concise with their information before I relayed their answer to your inquiry. 

I need to warn you beforehand that depending on the timing of all this, you may be barraged by the media. It appears your missing thirteenth person for your report is what the LoR folks are calling a “special once in a lifetime anomaly” (folks, correct my verbiage if needed) and completely unprecedented.

Your thirteenth person is rather special, and Northeast American University is proud that a student of ours has been selected to send in their NRR under the special circumstances that the subject of the report is still alive. You’ll be receiving a different list of forms as an attachment to this email. 

Please note that Student Account will be depositing $2000 for your travel expenses as it appears Prof. Dunbridge is located five hours north of the city in the town of Castport.

Do not hesitate to contact me should any questions or concerns arise, though for this case, perhaps any if all should be directed to the representatives of LoR. These folks will remain in contact with you after today to acts as aids, ask questions, and be there to answer questions.



Dr. Abdur Raqeeb Bashir (he/they)
Professor and Director of Anthropological Studies
Northeast American University


I stare at them and stand for some time, enough for the eventual sound of a light breeze through the grass to slither past.

They’re still and though they do not emit any ill-will, I simply feel it is time to pass.

Off to the far right is a black square doorway filled with undergrowth and weeds and I find my way through there.

I stumble across a third man, in black and tan. The square doorway is for a room with fallen trees, stumps, and the man looking up at the tallest live tree amongst the undergrowth, his one leg bent and placed up on a log.

               He’s gazing up at the height of the tree, which went through the ceiling through a clean-cut hole. 

                                           up and up.

               He’s gazing 

               The man will not talk to me and I brush past him without seeing his face. I do not need to see it to know it is there. 

               The loneliness of feeling unseen by others is as fundamental a pain as physical injury, but it doesn’t show on the outside.

               There’s mossy furniture, chairs and tables, on the edge of the otherwise white room filled with wildness. Filled with trees and trunks and everything that reminds me of leatherback journals and childhood into adulthood.

                                           up and up.


What cannot be contained cannot be contained.


It’s sunset upstairs.

I can finally see my own shadow on the wall and I realize that the sky is creamsicle and salmon.

My silhouette is a picture frame in an abandoned white warehouse like room with shut off lights above, beams showing depth.

Childhood, childhood, childhood.

Summer in the country. Full of June nights and sunsets: that’s what this room contains in its empty canvas of color.

But there are dried leaves on the floor. Fresh petals plucked by someone. 

Who else is here?

Gray brown
                             ferns feathering, 


               There are windows on the walls on this
               floor and it fills me with an unknown

               The walls are peeling, exposing peach colors, matching whatever wonderful sunset is outside.

in geraniums in 
the purest of magenta 
and violet
and elephant ears drumming against the

               I make my way past my own shadowed silhouette and beyond the dark beamed room. Beyond that is a room of natural light, no sunset, nor lights ahead and it reminds me of my grandmother’s grand hallway to the foyer. How I released frogs for races and clammered sneakers across tiled floors…

               Pale French window doors open on either side of me and at my feet are all unbloomed lilies, only the spikey, dark green, spear-like leaves bending, pointing and leaning. 

               All of the people are gone, they’ve left
               this space, this place. 

               This is my grandparents’ house, this part of the building. Down to the scent of fresh laundry and cigarette smoke. The almost muted jingling of my grandmother’s bangles and the tapping of my grandfather’s shoes to the radio.

              All snippets contained in the peelings of these walls.

               But I must move to new rooms.
               It is a compulsion, a destiny of sorts. 
               I am meant to as it is passage.

               Plant-filled skylines and window shafts
and bees on sedums and succulents (greedy little buggers)
                                      and creeping myrtle invading 
more rolling knolls but in living rooms and in bedrooms
        and ferns that grow behind curtains and light, 
        such wonderful, fading sunshine light is this
                         that creeps down and forth 
                                              unto nothing and though
                                                           I feel nothing I can
                                                               feel the warmth.


Memory is a glorious and funny thing.

It’s glorious how down a hallway with small budding grape hyacinths and dandelion freckled grass, it is that hallway with a light at it’s end that I am reminded of my office on the university’s campus. Glorious how I feel I am treading down to my office or to a class to see my students. There’s nothing like the feeling. Such a feeling at all.

It’s funny how through a glowing light of a door with water and reeds at it’s feet, I find myself outside, actually outside with no building or form of place behind me once I leave, and the patches of moss clawing into a small ox-bowed stream is the same that led to my greenhouse.

I see myself as a young man laying amongst the sparse, young trees in a clearing, sleeping.

(that give and take away shade with a passing

                                       up and up
Then opening my eyes and looking
               We could almost say, a living being is a memory which acts.

               I am light in a field.


Leslie Benigni is a recent MFA graduate of Bowling Green State University where she was also a staff fiction editor of the Mid-American Review. Her work has been published in *82 Review, OvergroundUnderground, Goat’s Milk Magazine, Not Deer Magazine, Analogies and Allegories Magazine, Quibble Journal, and more. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, haunting art museums, looking for new inspiration in the antiquated. Find her on Instagram and Twitter, as well as her website: lesliebenigni.weebly.com.