KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 198 words [R]


by Dan Gilmore

Looking for a quiet place, I went to the Japanese Garden in San Diego and sat near the bonsai display where a sign warned: Do Not Touch Bonsai. Alarm Will Sound. I closed my eyes. A few minutes later I heard a metallic sound and looked up. A kid of nineteen or twenty stood a few feet away. He wore knee-length fatigues. His legs were metal stalks with Nike sneakers attached. He looked at me, then the bonsai. He stumbled a bit, steadied himself, and then jerked a bonsai from its planter. The alarm sounded. He carried the tree to the lily pond, sat on the edge, removed his sneakers, cradled the bonsai in his lap, and lowered his metal feet into the water. He began to cry. He rocked and cried. A policeman came, tried to take the bonsai from him but he wouldn’t let go. He gasped for breath and cried louder. He couldn’t stop crying. The policeman helped him put on his shoes and escorted him to the exit. The kid was still holding the bonsai. The alarm stopped.

the noise of war lingers
in mangled youth
while galaxies and stars move farther apart


—Adapted from “The Vet’s Drug and Abstinence Festival: Balboa Park, San Diego,” which appears in Gilmore’s collection of lineated poems Panning for Gold (Imago Press, 2014)

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