Deborah Flanagan

Figures of the Fabrick'd

                “Every action longs for its opposite.”
                —William Matthews

Pythagoras and Plato create Antichthon: a world opposite ours.
The Antipodes walk with their feet in the air,

so we don’t fall off balance.

It’s a grim business. The blood always rushing to their heads,
never being able to pick up anything they drop.

No swimming in the boiling sea.
Always buying fancy shoes they don’t need.

Antichthon is strategically placed between our eccentric earth
and the center of the universe, to stop us

from looking at God directly.

The Antipodes create flying machines
using umbrellas, to ease their aching wrists.

They wake up one morning, take a long metal ruler,
hold it up against the line between sea and sky:

Demonstrate the earth is round, the line a curve.

“How can we hold you?” they ask.
“We should have warned you,” we answer.

The Mysterious Disappearance of Agatha Christie
Or The Case of the Missing Novelist

Enthusiastically morbid, she adores funerals and often lays flowers on the grave of her late canary, Kiki. Cause of death: poisoned stamps. (Clue.) Her mother is interested in the soul. Dinner is often rice pudding. I had a very happy childhood.


Agatha sneezes. Her husband Archie says, “I hate it when people are ill or unhappy—it spoils everything for me. Here’s your scarf; shall I put it round your neck?” (Motive.)


Agatha goes missing. Her husband . . . (Suspect.) A manhunt is launched. The Surrey constabulary combs the downs, drags the ponds, releases bloodhounds. Ice-cream vendors set up stands to serve the mob of volunteers. According to Archie, “She has no distinguishing characteristics.”


A corpse is found, stuffed in a cupboard with the tennis racquets under the stairs. (Red Herring.)
Archie’s lover Ruby strangled with the satin waistband of her party dress. 


Agatha hides in the Hydropathic Hotel in Harrogate, checks in under an assumed name. Plays bridge with the other hotel guests and discusses the strange case of the missing novelist. (Alibi.)


Luckily, one of the guests is Miss Marple. When she’s on a case she believes the worst of everyone: has a mind like a sink. Doesn’t eschew field glasses when snooping. Notices a chair has been moved in the study. (Clue #2.)


Miss Marple confronts Agatha once and for all: cat among the pigeons. (Double Bluff.) Agatha claims to have experienced a state of fugue. Argues: Wickedness has no black and evil splendor. Besides, my preference is poison.

Deborah Flanagan

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Deborah Flanagan

Deborah Flanagan’s manuscript, Or, Gone, was the winner of Tupelo Press Snowbound Series Chapbook Award, and she was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in journals including AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, FIELD, The Southern Review, and DIAGRAM, among others. Deborah lives in the Lower East Side in New York City.