KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 274 words [R]

First TV

by Dan Gilmore

My mother took a moral stand against it, said television was the work of the devil, said my father’s wanting it showed how weak he really was. But, for once, he stood firm. It was a blond GE with a twelve-inch screen—a blond whore my mother couldn’t have hated more.

After supper, we sat on the sofa, my mother wedged in the middle, hands over her ears, back straight, her worn leather Bible on her lap. My father switched it on. Roller derby came at us like a train on fire, women on skates trying to kill one another—knees to the midsection, elbows to the neck, hair pulling, eye gouging.

Suddenly my mother leaned forward and yelled, “Kill her. Oh, kill her. Hit her in the mouth.” She jabbed us with her elbows, moved to the edge of the sofa. Her Bible lay splayed at her feet like an injured player. During a commercial she read aloud from John 12:46. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. “Amen,” she said, as the men took the track.

She marked her place with a finger, sat forward again and yelled, “Kill him, kick him. That’s it. Oh, hurt him.” My father excused himself to get a glass of water. I sat on the floor to escape her sharp elbow. Years later, this is the way I remember her: alone, agitated, the empty space around her expanding, the wild, festering pleasure she took in roller derby and God.

on scorching hot days
she avoids shade
proof that a better place awaits

—Revised version of poem which appears in Gilmore’s collection of lineated poems Love Takes a Bow (Imago Press, 2010); appears here by author’s permission

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