Mark Henderson

Tough Room for Lazarus

It was my second-ever open mic, with heckling from the first row. I still don’t know how I’d missed her; she was, after all, a coelacanth – a species of fish thought to be extinct for tens of millions of years until the twentieth century. She didn’t buy the self-deprecation behind my resurrection jokes. The flap of her lobed fin (the arm-like protrusion distinguishing her transition between fish and tetrapod) was like the wag of a finger, as she lamented the “damn paparazzi” fishermen’s intrusion and called me “insensitive,” casting doubt upon my very return to spread truth through comedy.

Those pills I’d swallowed (I’ll never learn) weren’t helping either; I could see ghosts in the back rows – dodoes, saber-toothed tigers, mastodons – shaking their heads in disgust, clearly unimpressed. More discouraging was how they simply didn’t want to be there, making me reach for my drink again, just to see if my hand would pass through it.

About the Author

Mark Henderson teaches English at Tuskegee University. He earned his PhD at Auburn University with concentrations in American literature and psychoanalytic theory. He has poems published or forthcoming in Cozy Cat Press, From Whispers to Roars,, Bombfire, Former People, Neologism, Broad River Review, Rune Bear, Flora Fiction, Flare, Visitant, Blood Tree Literature, The Closed Eye Open, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, Burningword, Better Than Starbucks, The Racket Journal, Torrid Literature Journal, Sunspot Lit, and Writer’s Digest. He was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama.