KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun: 194 words

Dowser on the River

by Thomas F. Sheehan

Downriver a sudden wash spills grubs, white worms, into the quick rush. Stones, too, hurl into the fray, like infantry and horse soldiers out of bush. The rain is gone overhill half a day and aches its echo on the earth. This, of course, is my own war, this drive to be alone, separatist seeking shadows of the pine, the cool, dark cells of old trees flattening like choice rooms by the banks, and the phantom foe sleek as a jet under surface. He turns to watch my boots stumble on the rock skelter laced with lichen and mossy strains. If he has laughter, it floats away faint as photographs at the back end of an old man’s mind. I trust that he laughs not nor cries in his world, that once he noses upstream, feels the power gauging his flanks, knows the message burning like new stars in the sanctity where his eyes dwell, he will know why I am in this shadowed recess:

says secret spawning
        calls us from earth’s hot center
                divining where rivers end

where the journey starts
        says our rhythms merge
                divining where rivers start

Thomas F. Sheehan
Issue 3, Spring 2015

Master of several genres, Sheehan has been writing for a long time—eight decades—and he has no plans to slow down. Hundreds of his short stories appear online and in print venues, with nearly 400 of his Western stories alone in Rope and Wire. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize 28 times. One of his five short-story collections, The Westering, was nominated in 2012 for the National Book Award, and one of his five poetry collections, Korean Echoes, was nominated in 2011 for a Distinguished Military Award.

Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry Regiment in Korea in 1951, an experience that forever changed his life and continues to inform his writing. Many of his stories also include a special character: his home-town of Saugus, Massachusetts. In 1990, he retired from Raytheon Corporation, after 35 years there as a writer and analyst.

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