KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Haibun Story: 236 words
Ekphrasis: DavenTree

The Legend of a Daven Tree

by Marilyn Baszczynski

When my great-grandmother Kati arrived on this continent, she waited until she could buy a piece of fertile land to plant the seed she’d smuggled from the old country. She’d kept it hidden inside a gold locket hanging over her heart, the same locket I wear today. She planted that seed, her laughter, and her guiding spirits on a hill above a pond. She fed them water mixed with her blood and soon the seedling grew into a magnificent Daven tree, vigorous and full. The tree thrived firmly rooted in Kati’s past and future. Its trunk thickened with primal juices, limbs laden with strange, abundant fruit; it absorbed and gave birth to a multitude of generations. Decades later, when it was time, Kati leaned back against the tree; her spine fused into its bark. With arms up and head back, she laughed her youthful spirit along the branches. She bequeathed the tree to her daughter, and on down to me, two years ago, gifting its healing wonders along with its scars of heartache—babies lost, cancers, suicide, alcoholism, deaths—always surviving and transmuting the ashes to replenish roots and nurture revival. Now each year in late winter, before life-blood surges upward, my daughters and granddaughters join me to hang multi-hued ribbons and golden hearts on boughs soon to swell. We celebrate laughter and remember.

robust branches extend
grandmother’s reach



—Semi-Finalist, KYSO Flash The DavenTree Writing Challenge

[The DavenTree] drawing by poet Steve Davenport


Marilyn Baszczynski
Issue 11, Spring 2019

lives and writes in rural Iowa. She is the author of Gyuri: A poem of wartime Hungary (Whistling Shade Press, 2015). Her poetry has also appeared in several journals including Abaton, Aurorean, Loch Raven Review, Lyrical Iowa, Midwest Poetry Review, Mused, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Whistling Shade. Formerly President of the Iowa Poetry Association, Marilyn currently edits the IPA’s annual anthology, Lyrical Iowa.

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