KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 1: Fall 2014
Prose Poem: 342 words

Small Orbits

by Tara L. Masih

Moths, planets, summer nights, our front yard. Gathering in waning light, circling each other tangentially, tagging, rumbling, shrieking. Yes, vulnerable shoulder blades, innocent bud wings to adulthood. Supper in our flat stomachs, Surgeon General recommended in those days, triangle charts, starch base, protein, vegetables. Those choked down greens, not Tuna Helper, not Hungry Man from TV which friends spooned down. Circling, we, on banana seats, plastic baskets with neon flowers. We must stay virgins, avoid the metal bar that will somehow ruin all. My sister, my orbiting partner planet. The rest of the neighborhood materializing just beyond the street light. Balls sailing in their own trajectory, round, oval, hard, soft, mildew specked, glossy new around birthdays. Then climbing, reaching into, above, around, hanging, somersaulting, turning and twisting tube tire swing game of disorientation. The hoots, the hollers, the joy when fireflies throb, travel. Headlights wink past, tires swoosh, sound carrying between the silent flicker of mating paths, calls, wishes. Those vegetable jars from the dented aluminum garbage cans out back, green bean labels, holes poked into lids, a childmade constellation. But our neighborhood bully, his nose glowing. Ripping apart beauty, halving life for show, his destructive show, the fiery abdomen glowing at the end of his bully nose. I launch, propelled, in my anger suit, at this new evil. Grass rising to meet my back hard, clenched hands finding, making my face bleed and blue. My sister, warrior yell, mounting, kicking, tangled hair flowing like Medusa with the force of filial fury. She conquers, she actually conquers as no one else has conquered, and the one who doesn’t belong flees home at escape velocity to his blue shingled façade, and who knows what that goes on behind it. My sister. Glowing, we in her lamplight shadow, her lesson about the course of things. We all now orbit her elliptically, we respect, we love. I love, I whisper though tears, because she can hear, not see me, as the lamplight has just burned out, as it does, as it inevitably should.

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