KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Prose Poem: 207 words
Ekphrasis: DavenTree

A Crucible of Sighs

by Pamelyn Casto

The solitary tree yearns for something to be said. Those outstretched hands mimic the beggar but hold tight the grievous songs of departed birds. The peace it makes with the wind is only temporary—for the tree knows the charge and change of lightning as it gathers all in a sibilant sough in collusion with the sun or the moon.

The twisted old oak listens with ravaged ears and question marks, tells tales without words, pantomimes in paisleyed and palsied tattoos of bark in a crucible of sighs and signs, in serpentine and untranslatable knots that hitch and slip.

The tree trembles in the approaching darkness, has cast off the garments of its life, holds back its buds—masquerades as lonely death. It spins shadows where yins split from yangs, recalls burdensome hangings—gnarled, mum and muted might. Uncorded the spiteful boughs break and children tumble down in cradled nightmares.

The susurrous longing points to the unreachable, the unspeakable; stretches toward bright heaven but remains rooted in a somber hell. The wizened and twisted soul, the infinite insomniac, is unable to lie down. With the insatiable desire of Tantalus it is ever reaching, grasping, wanting. Love too often runs away with the leaves.


—Second Finalist, KYSO Flash The DavenTree Writing Challenge

[The DavenTree] drawing by poet Steve Davenport


Pamelyn Casto
Issue 11, Spring 2019

has articles on flash fiction in Writer’s Digest, Fiction Southeast, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading, and Critical Insights: Flash Fiction. Currently she is contributing editor for Flash Discourse at Open: Journal of Arts & Letters.

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