KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Prose Poem: 151 words

Amber Museum, Gdansk

by Linda Nemec Foster

She had no idea that an amber stone could be as big as a boulder. Or that it could reflect hundreds of different shades of white, green, yellow, cognac, red. Had no idea that early Christians believed these colors were a direct result of The Great Flood. The tears of dying children: pure white or perfectly clear umber to wear as ornaments. The tears of repentant sinners: cloudy and marked with dark veins that could be burned as incense. The tears of the guilty—the greedy and arrogant, the merciless and unjust—all their tears became black amber that had to be destroyed: useless and cursed. Pagans also imagined creation myths for amber: ant feces, elephant semen, the swollen genitals of ancient giants. All the myths—holy and mundane—exhibited in a museum. Dangling from her ears, enclosing her wrists, encircling her neck. Her life, surrounded by myth.


Linda Nemec Foster
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is the author of 11 poetry collections, including The Lake Michigan Mermaid with Anne-Marie Oomen (Wayne State University Press, 2018), Amber Necklace from Gdansk (Louisiana State University Press, 2001), and Talking Diamonds (New Issues Press, 2009).

Her work has appeared in more than 350 magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, Nimrod, Witness, New American Writing, North American Review, Quarterly West, Paterson Literary Review, and Verse Daily, and has been published in anthologies in the U.S. and Great Britain, translated in Europe, exhibited in museums and galleries, set to music, produced for the stage, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

In 2018, Foster won an Editor’s Choice Award in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest sponsored by the Poetry Center at Passaic Community College in New Jersey. She has also received awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. She is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College, and was the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan (serving from 2003-2005). In 2015, she was honored by the Dyer-Ives Foundation for her poetry and advocacy of the literary arts in Michigan. Her latest book (The Lake Michigan Mermaid, co-authored with Anne-Marie Oomen) was recently honored as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book.

Expanded bio available at poet’s website:

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

The Talent of Knowing in Duende (Issue 2, Spring 2015)

Two Poems, “Mount Fuji” and “The Dead,” in Streetlight Magazine (23 December 2016)

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