Late genius of the form Russell Edson stated that prose poetry can create “a beautiful new animal.” Jeff Friedman’s Floating Tales earn that honorific description. These compact, surreal, enlivening tales strip experience down to its most fertile mysteries. In the worlds created here, paradox, the unseen, the uncontrollable, nothingness, unsatisfiable hungers, the absurd, suspended threat, constant transformation and mutation, and power reversals reign supreme. A tongue bullies its owner. A woman teaches a parrot to fly. Puppets revolt. Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt and is strapped to the roof of her fleeing family’s Subaru. The ancient, the contemporary and the cartoonish cross pollinate in amazing ways. With restless inventiveness, these tales provide the opposite of closure: they burst open, bloom outward, revealing multiple new ways of relating to so-called reality.