KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Prose Poem: 111 words [R]


by Maxine Chernoff

First there was addition, incestuous and pretentious, coupling jackals with jackals, summing sunsets and field mice. Soon the world was packed as a third class railway car. We tired of objects desiring us—lenses, doorknobs, cuspidors elbowing between lovers. Scholars developed protective philosophies, claiming they’d die for “breathing space,” but what of the common man? His only hope was in the invention of madmen—evaporation chambers, metaphysical vacuums, all of which failed. One day in a school-room a slow child with glasses forgot to draw the vertical line of the plus sign and so subtraction was born. Minus, minus, we chanted all day, watching our laundry recede from the clothesline.

— From Ms. Chernoff’s collection of selected prose poems, Evolution of the Bridge (Salt Publishing: United Kingdom, 2004); reprinted by permissions of author and publisher

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