KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 2: Winter 2015
Poem: 148 words

The Competition

by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Thank you for coming.

After I put my despair on display,
and read those poems about
my dead son, I’m cornered by a stranger

who tells me he was orphaned
at sixteen. His mom was driving. He
walked away from the crash.

He tells me there’s a name for what
we survivors bear. Traumatic Grief.
A recognized condition. PTSD for the bereaved.

I could one-up him; my mom’s
early death, or the asleep at the wheel
trucker who killed my boyfriend and our
baby when I was nineteen,

make it a competition
I know I’d win.
Instead, I default, tell him I’m so sorry.

When he hugs me I’m swallowed
by the weight of our common loss. I want
him to take it all away.

Instead, when I go home, I carry twice what
I had before. PTSD. Survivor’s Guilt.
Our despair, and its proper name.

for C.E.


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