KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 152 words [R]


by Dan Gilmore

His mother said she couldn’t cry. She could imagine what Robby felt just before...but she couldn’t cry. It was a dry sorrow, something past hope and anger, even past the terror that this numbness would enter her life again and again.

a breeze moves silent shadows
of empty swings

The morning after, she made Robby’s lunch and remembered he didn’t like applesauce. Then she realized he wouldn’t need a lunch. She ate it herself, choked as she forced it down. She looked at the dust that floated on the surface of the pool where Robby learned to swim. She stared at the white wooden gate that he always left open.

That afternoon at the market, she saw a live fish floundering on a chopping block, its feathery gills undulating, and she felt an overwhelming need for water.

in this brittle air
the dead child cannot comfort
those he left behind

—Adapted from “Newtown,” which appears in Gilmore’s collection of lineated poems Panning for Gold (Imago Press, 2014)

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