KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Tanka Prose: 243 words

These Lives

by Claire Everett

nothing remarkable
about the last day
of her ninth life
but for the sight of her, sitting
Zen-like in the sun

In retrospect, I see them as gardens. The first, long, dappled with sunlight, fragrant in the shade. Wallflowers, peonies, and mint come to me, along with the sweetness of peas fresh from the pod. The sound of the spade slicing peaty soil, the slithering succulence of worms. Years later Mum told me Dad buried my placenta there. “It was a beauty, like a rugby ball!” They did things like that back then.

The next was one of sorts. A backyard, more concrete than green. A plethora of pots festooned with fuchsia. Hanging baskets for my miniature Babylon.

Then the corner garden with high privet hedges and a holy trinity of lilac trees. Sunflowers taller than the children. Crazy paving.

What followed ran to wrack and ruin, a lawn more meadow than manicured. But from the chaos little voices cry out to me about the dragonfly pegging itself to the washing line.

For a long time there wasn’t one at all. So we made our own of wild places found along the way, until we came upon this one with its frog pond and a cherry tree. The chequered lilies we sowed that first spring have bloomed again. The stone Buddha has gathered moss.

not everything
that darkens our doorstep
is foreboding...
the hope I thought was lost
plump and purring


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