KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 10: Fall 2018
Haibun: 167 words

To the Gills

by Christine Taylor

We knew the day would eventually come when we’d have to empty Mommy’s house—we just didn’t think it would come so suddenly. . .and so soon. The bowels of a hoarder’s home are lined with flypaper, black bodies yanked mid-flight. We dig through layers of Wendy’s take-out bags, ashtrays brimming with butts of Salem Lights, junk mail and magazines to find the floor. Stacked paper shopping bags filled with housewares and cleaning supplies dotted with bright red sale stickers. On the dresser, piles of clothing, the same-style cardigan in all available colors. Stuffed in drawers, envelopes cataloging returned checks for property tax, mortgage, child support(?). Our elementary school report cards demonstrating “satisfactory” effort. A box of baby teeth. No central air, the heat is a coffin; an escape to the backyard, a duel with poison ivy.

Into three full dumpsters, the house coughs up the intimate outline of a life passed, one we witnessed in half-published chapters.

she takes
the last breath



Christine Taylor,
Issue 10, Fall 2018

a multiracial English teacher and librarian, resides in her hometown of Plainfield, New Jersey. She serves as a reader and contributing editor at OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters. Her writing appears in Modern Haiku, apt, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Rumpus, Eclectica, and The Paterson Literary Review among others. For links to her poetry, haikai, fiction, and CNF, visit her website:

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