KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Prose Poem: 191 words

The Eve of St. John the Baptist’s
Feast Day, Warsaw

by Linda Nemec Foster

Tonight, no unmarried girls in this city desire husbands. “Get a husband and you get trouble,” a mother warns her daughter. Tonight, I came to the edge of the Vistula River expecting to see its waters ablaze in light: light from hundreds of flower wreaths set on fire by anxious young girls hoping to get married. All day long, they wear the wreaths of wildflowers on their heads as if their hair grew naturally entwined with lupine and chicory, Queen Anne’s lace and daisies. At dusk they remove their wilted crowns, light them with matches, and set them adrift in the water—praying that the small burning circle will float (and foretell marriage) and not sink (and foretell spinsterhood). But tonight, in this new millennium—no girls with innocent wishes, no fires in the river. Only a loud and raucous music festival complete with beer, cigarettes, and a rented band from Britain playing American country and western. At the edge of the crowd, a man in the shadows caresses his lover and, with his tongue, licks her perfectly arched white neck.

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