KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun Story: 186 words

Canary Girl, 1916

by Pat Tompkins

With our Henry and Eddie fighting in France, I had to put bread on the table, so I got work at the factory. I’m a “munitionette,” which sounds like I have a cheery task in making little bombs. Ha. They’re huge shells and it’s grim, rows and rows of them to fill, all to kill someone’s husbands and sons.

The place smells bad, but you get used to it. It’s the chemicals, sulphur and poisons, nothing to mess about with. There’s a mist of them in the air and coating everything, like the finest talcum powder. Turns your skin yellow. We wear caps and overalls, yet some of the lasses have their hair tinted, too. Some get so queasy or such headaches they can hardly stand it. My friend Sally bought that Oatine face cream to remove the yellow. Didn’t do a thing for her; she let me try it. Smells nice, but it doesn’t help. Guess if it worked they wouldn’t be calling us canaries. Someone’s making a pretty penny selling it.

accident at work
tons of TNT explode
roses to ashes

Pat Tompkins
Issue 3, Spring 2015

is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her haibun have appeared in Contemporary Haibun Online, bottle rockets, Haibun Today, and other publications.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Little Arrows in Haibun Today (Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015)

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