KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 128 words

Forked Branches

by Dan Gilmore

Her father’s gestures—how he drained a cup of cold coffee, tugged at the brim of his hat, held his lunch pail just-so, the sound of the door as it clicked shut behind him—left her wondering if they were signs of love.

Her mother’s sharp smiles, her flaming hands, her prayers that invited plagues on evil doers, the desperation of her unlived life—left the daughter certain she was obliged to love, but carefully.

She spent her years clinging to the forked branches of these two lives, her house built of loose twigs. Mouth agape, never sated, she built small fires to temper the chill of what she called love.

no happiness, just
three coins in a beggar’s cup
and an alley cat’s slow blink

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