KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 263 words

My Grandmother’s Chair

by Kika Dorsey

I inherited it from her, a Victorian side chair upholstered with velvet, heart-shaped back, carved scrolls and legs, floral decoration, flower-ornamented feet. It is red. Its place is in the corner of our dining room, and no one sits in it. We are eating fried rattlesnake. My son climbs the ladder-back Shaker chair.

Sit down, I say.
Eat, my husband says.

The sun is setting and falls across the chair’s dusty seat, and the flowers stir and burst into color: pink hollyhocks, yellow chrysanthemum, purple iris, and petunias emerging out of the velvet fabric that bleeds onto our oak floors. My daughter picks a stalk of hollyhock with four blossoms. I point to each one and say:

one for Memphis where she married the rich man,
one for the high heels that crippled her feet,
one for the God she wrapped tight with her tongue,
one for the day she buried my father’s song.

The flowers keep growing. We try to pick them, our dinner ignored, our seats abandoned now, but they spread across the floor and climb up the table and wrap around our forks, and in our scrambling we smash them with our feet. The smell chokes us. It is too sweet.

My husband says,
Sit down to eat.

I run my finger through the blood-red soil. My daughter arranges a bouquet in her small hands. My son keeps climbing. He can see above the canopy of flowers and we are fashioning words out of their petals.

Make room
for the garden.

The snake on our plates stirs.

—From the poet’s collection-in-progress Coming Up for Air

See also Author Commentaries on Haibun Stories.

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