KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Micro-Fiction: 190 words [R]


by James Claffey
for Sally Houtman

The roof echoes from the patter of small feet. There is a gap between the last footfall and the rustle of leaves as the furry body lands in the long limbs of the avocado tree. The branches curve in sync with the sickle moon’s white slant. Velvet-coated squirrels slip rustling along the ground as a thousand stars brighten the sky, like sparks from a terra-cotta chiminea, silent as the stones on the gravel path. Out front, a small garden is planted: lemon tree, oxalis, tiger tail, lily of the valley.

This garden is a memorial for a young child. When the big wind came it blew the weathervane off the neighbor’s house and across the road into our orchard. He was aloft in the MacArthur tree, the one with the staghorn fern. He loved to feed it bananas, too ripe for eating but perfect as a sacrifice to the fern king. The north wind felled the child, the rusted arrow crushing his blond-framed skull.

I lie awake in the dark and listen to the squirrels’ footsteps as they scamper across the tiles in search of answers.


—Published previously in Flash Frontier (September 2017: TREES); appears here with author’s permission.

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