KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Prose Poem: 124 words

The Waiting

by Kathleen McGookey

After a brief hard rain, a turkey vulture flew to our dead oak and spread its wings to dry. Another and another joined it, until five vultures held up their stiff black feathers like outstretched fingers, wings crooked at the elbows. They rotated slowly, each on its own branch. We held our breath. My son grabbed his camera, but the picture couldn’t show how the warm wind lifted his hair from his neck, how whipped clouds piled up in the sky behind us, how he dropped to one knee to adjust the lens, how we were once again exactly the same height when he stood on the bottom porch step, or how, after a small mechanical click, one branch vibrated, suddenly empty.


—From McGookey’s forthcoming collection, Instructions for My Imposter (Press 53, 2019); appears here with permissions from the poet and Press 53. See a review of her book here in Issue 12, by Clare MacQueen.


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