KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 10: Fall 2018
Prose Poem: 186 words

Circus Love Story

by Kathleen McGookey

In private, far from the tightrope and open-mouthed crowds, he sprouted a water lily from his forehead. A little door opened and out it popped, all at once. Because tattooed hearts on their biceps and collarbones could not contain their love. His beloved stepped into the kitchenette wearing a spangly red leotard. She said oh in the voice of someone who had dropped a key ring down a sewer grate. Practical questions—how long would it bloom? would it consume him? could he add it to the act?—never crossed his mind. Everything had happened a little too quickly. He would have preferred to flourish a top hat and present this prize to her: for a limited time only. Or: the smallest show on earth. For now, they could stop rowing the boat of their love across an ocean of eyes. The crow that haunted their days stopped tapping at the window and simply cocked its head. The water lily opened its sharp petals while the kitchenette glowed—muted gold, like twilight—and the smell of sliced apples and caramel filled the air.


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