KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Prose Poem: 184 words

God’s mustache fell from a great height
with cloud still on it.

by Elizabeth Kerlikowske

God was just lucky the man was there to catch it. Or was it luck? The man carried the mustache under his arms, and it looked like water wings or swan wings. It was stiffer than you might expect and smelled of oatmeal and yesterday’s cigarettes. That’s what the ballerina thought as the prop man carried the mustache across the stage. That’s how her tulle hat got caught on it. And then the lighting guy laid a dinosaur on the floor whose foot began where the point of her toe shoe ended. The man had too much to shepherd now: God’s mustache, the ballerina, and dragging the dinosaur who wanted to head in the other direction. This must be why the man wears roller skates even though they’re in a pasture. But it’s just a stage-set, he remembers. The ballerina abandons her hat to God’s mustache. The dinosaur light dims. The mustache is impossibly heavy, and the man buckles under its weight. Monday the mustache is gone, but the man’s remains remain.

Painting: Birdbride, by Mary Hatch

Painting, oil on sheet canvas
Copyright © by Mary Hatch. All rights reserved.

—Reproduced from with artist’s permission



Elizabeth Kerlikowske’s
Issue 11, Spring 2019

first full-length book of poetry, Dominant Hand, is available from Mayapple Press), and she is co-author with artist Mary Hatch of Art Speaks: Paintings and Poetry (Kazoo Books, 2018). Other books by Kerlikowske include The Shape of Dad (a memoir in prose poems), Last Hula (winner of the 2013 Standing Rock Chapbook Competition), and Chain of Lakes.

She has been publishing her poetry and fiction for more than 20 years in such journals and magazines as Encore, Cincinnati Review, Passager, and Poemeleon, among others. Her work is anthologized in Nothing to Declare: A Guide to the Flash Sequence (White Pine Press, 2016), The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women (Shade Mountain Press, 2015), and the Michigan writers anthology published by Western Michigan University (WMU). She also creates visual art and has recently completed the Hester Prynne Chair, first of a series of literary women chairs.

Kerlikowske completed her doctorate in English at WMU in 2007. An arts activist, she has served for many years as the president of the Kalamazoo Friends of Poetry, and she is also president of the Poetry Society of Michigan. She recently retired from a teaching career at Kellogg Community College.

Mary Hatch
Issue 11, Spring 2019

is an artist and printmaker who received her B.S. and M.A. degrees at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where she currently resides and creates. She is co-author with poet Elizabeth Kerlikowske of Art Speaks: Paintings and Poetry (Kazoo Books, 2018). Hatch’s work has been shown in more than 30 one-person exhibits in as many years and is included in more than 300 public and private collections throughout the US and Canada. For more information, see her Artist’s Statement and full resume. To see more of her work, visit her online galleries.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Featured Artists Mary Hatch and Elizabeth Kerlikowske in KYSO Flash (Issue 9, Spring 2018); includes half a dozen of Kerlikowske’s ekphrastic prose poems and micro-fictions inspired by Hatch’s paintings

Artist Interview: Mary Hatch in Issue 19 of Triggerfish Critical Review

Three in Prose by Kerlikowske in DIAGRAM (Issue 5.1): “Forty Winks,” “The Girls’ Room,” and “Midway”

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