KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 12: Summer 2019
Poem: 160 words [R]

June Gloom

by Alexis Rhone Fancher
When my grandmother died, 
a minyan of crows appeared, 
soaring and flapping, 

a stark condolence against sleet skies. 

Who would tuck me in at night? 
Who would braid my hair? 

I was inconsolable; 
her funeral, a blur. 
Now she’s a catch in my throat. 

I’ve taught myself crow, 
the caw of welcome—a far cry from that wailing 
stuck in their gullets. 

I know the frustration, how their big brains wrestle 
with rudimentary bodies, 
a large intelligence desperate to fly out. 

Too smart for their own good, 
my grandmother would say, 
meaning the crows but also me. Headstrong. 

My mother let me get away with murder. 

The crows invaded the eucalyptus trees on the bluff. 
I counted thirty congregated on the branches, 
their sad cries a round robin of grief. 

When tourists come to California in June 
they feel cheated by the gloom, 
like it’s not really California 

and they’ve lost something crucial, 
like they deserve a refund. 


—Published previously in the author’s chapbook The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019); appears here with her permission.

Alexis Rhone Fancher
Issue 12, Summer 2019

is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart-stab poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014), and three books published by KYSO Flash Press: The Dead Kid Poems (2019), the companion volume to State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies (2015); and Enter Here (May 2017), a full-length collection of photographs and erotic poems. Her fourth poetry collection, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), is the story of her first, disastrous marriage.

Rhone Fancher’s writing has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and appears in more than 100 literary magazines, journals, and anthologies, including The Best American Poetry 2016, Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Rattle, The MacGuffin, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver Magazine, Poetry East, Fjords Review, Rust + Moth, Pirene’s Fountain, Plume, Askew, Tinderbox, Verse Daily, and KYSO Flash.

Her photographs have been published worldwide, including spreads in River Styx, Heart Online, and Rogue Agent, and on the covers of Heyday Magazine, Chiron Review, Witness, Nerve Cowboy, Pithead Chapel, The Mas Tequila Review, and two KYSO Flash anthologies (2015, and the forthcoming 2018 volume, Accidents of Light).

A lifelong Angeleno, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. From the S-curves of Topanga and the sprawling beaches of the Westside to the stunning views of downtown L.A. from her previous studio, her beloved city can be construed as another character in her work. She and her husband now live on the cliffs of San Pedro, a sleepy beach community 20 miles from their former digs in DTLA. They still have an extraordinary view.

alexis [at] lapoetrix [dot] com

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