KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Micro-Fiction: 277 words
Ekphrasis: DavenTree

Cutting for Sign in the Big Thicket

by Daryl Scroggins

My father drilled holes in trees with a special bit, hollow in the middle so a core of wood could be removed from it. He took me with him on his arborist’s field trips because my mother was depressed and could not look after me. He often paused and listened to the sounds of the forest in a way that made me feel I was not there. If he heard something unusual, he would look at me as if I might have made the sound. But then he would look away and slide the long stick of rings from the drill bit he had pulled out. Some circle-segments were wider than others. Wet years, he would say, pointing. And in other places, tightly spaced circles would appear. Sometimes the whole rod would crumble in one place, and my father would say Fire, or Disease. But he had special tubes he would slip cores into, placing the broken sections there in order of their appearance.

Once we heard the call of a bird, and he said it might be one that was thought to be extinct. Its song sounded to me like someone saying Marshmallows For Sale Here. But he said it could be a woodpecker. Large, with a red head. And he went seeking it, with me trying to follow. It was rough going for a six-year-old. The long claws of the tree roots tripped me many times. Soon he was nowhere in sight, and the limbs above were so thick that little light from any world showed through. And then I saw the bird that he would never see.



—Semi-Finalist, KYSO Flash The DavenTree Writing Challenge

[The DavenTree] drawing by poet Steve Davenport


Daryl Scroggins
Issue 11, Spring 2019

has taught creative writing and literature at The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of North Texas, and the Writer’s Garret, in Dallas. He now lives in Marfa, Texas. He is the author of This Is Not the Way We Came In, a collection of flash fiction and a flash novel (Ravenna Press), Winter Investments: Stories (Trilobite Press), and Prairie Shapes: A Flash Novel (winner of the 2004 Robert J. DeMott Prose Contest). His poems, short stories, and creative non-fictions have appeared in magazines and anthologies across the country, including Blink Ink, Cutbank, Eastern Iowa Review, New Flash Fiction Review, Star 82 Review, and Third Wednesday, among others.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

New to School, micro-fiction in Eclectica (Jan/Feb 2018)

Two Fictions: Almost Baptized, and Against the Current in New Flash Fiction Review (Issue 10, January 2018)

Holding His Own, micro-fiction in KYSO Flash (Issue 5, Spring 2016)

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