KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Poem: 163 words


by Chanel Brenner
My father slurred 
on the phone. I thought
he was drinking again, hung up.
On The Today Show,
I watched the widowed Katie Couric 
fly through the sky at
Rockefeller Plaza
dressed as Peter Pan.

My sister’s boyfriend taught 
her how to give a blow job. Ten 
times a day, he jammed himself
into her quiet mouth. All summer, 
my dad kept slurring into the phone.
I kept hanging up. Chad Curtis 
slid into home plate, and the Yankees
won the World Series. Sundays,
I went to Starbucks and Noah’s Bagels, 
drank the acidic brew,
swallowed the weak dough. 

When the doctor called 
and told us my father
had Lou Gehrig’s disease,
my sister moaned  
like she was being force fed. 
My mother found an old pack
of Marlboros, blew smoke rings 
on the front porch, and watched them 
fade into the black sky. I opened
a bottle of Chardonnay, drank 
it warm from the bottle
until everything I said
slurred too.
Chanel Brenner
Issue 2, Winter 2015

is a long-time member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective, and author of the book Vanilla Milk: a memoir told in poems (Silver Birch Press, 2014). Her poems have been published in Poet Lore, Rattle, Cultural Weekly, Diverse Voices Quarterly, The Coachella Review, Foliate Oak, The Write Place At the Write Time, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

Her poem “What Would Wislawa Szymborska Do?” was displayed at the James Whitcomb Riley Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana; and her poem “July 28th, 2012” won first prize in The Write Place At the Write Time’s contest, judged by Ellen Bass.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

My Poetic Obsession, 1035-word essay by Brenner on writing through her grief, in Sliver of Stone Magazine (Issue 7, October 2013)

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