KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 276 words

February 1971, Grand Rapids

by Dan Gilmore

The sun is gone. His secretary has stopped combing her hair. His car routinely hits black ice and spins out of control. His wife shoves a copy of Ms. Magazine in his face as if it’s a torch and he is dry straw. He starts to lose things, first his watch, then his TV remote, then his toothbrush. Turns out, his wife is stealing his stuff, so he says, “Why are you stealing my stuff?” She takes their best butcher knife to the bedroom and starts stabbing his pillow. She says she’s working on anger issues. He asks why she’s angry. She says, “You’re incapable of understanding.”

Next day while her consciousness-raising group meets in the living room, he babysits and watches women’s field hockey on TV. Near the end of the game he discovers their three-year-old daughter has eaten a can of Crisco. He doesn’t get why the entire consciousness group has to go with him to the emergency room. It’s embarrassing. A week later his wife buys combat boots and files for divorce. She says she wants to get back the life he has stolen from her. She asks if he wants custody. He tells her he does.

Then March comes. The sun appears. He and his daughter eat burritos at Taco Bell. He takes her to the playground. She rides the merry-go-round and points up to a bird of some kind carried on a gentle wind. He watches the bird soaring this way and that and tries to grab hold of a thought that isn’t quite there yet.

after nine years of winter
spears of icicles
begin to melt

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