KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Haibun: 157 words

Chalk Dudleya

by Peter Jastermsky

At this point in the hike, you long for the cold bottle of water you left at home. The sixteen-percent grade leaves you winded, no breeze in your face to refresh you.

At some point, you remember to turn around to see how far you’ve traveled. Like sleeping steer, the cars rest in untidy rows in the cattle camp far below.

Off in the hills lies a place of dreams, cloaked in smog. On a clear day, it is said, one can make out the “H” in the HOLLYWOOD sign high up on a hill. In all your hikes, you’ve never seen this famous sign and now wonder if it’s mere legend.

Glancing to the left of the rocky trail, you notice a single plant, an odd thing, otherworldly. White, gray, and pink mixed together. As if it fell to Earth, in the August sun.

a prayer for shade
the mocking presence
of first shadows


Photograph of giant Chalk Dudleya, by cultivar413 on Flickr (4 May 2019)

Giant Chalk Dudleya, Dudleya brittonii
Fallbrook, California (4 May 2019)
Some rights reserved by cultivar413

Image downloaded from Flickr on 3 July 2019 and appears here
under license, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0):

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