KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 4: Fall 2015
Haibun Story: 203 words

Big Boy

by Dan Gilmore

In the fifth grade, a new boy came to church. They called him, that Big Boy. He sat in the back row with his mother. He chewed his tongue and wore a banged-up blue helmet. His arms serpentined wildly. He had a hard time walking. At unexpected times he’d lean back and howl like a dog. When my mother told me he got that way because he played with himself, I began to feel the urge to howl. Then one Sunday Big Boy’s mother helped him up the aisle to be baptized. He jerked and flung himself forward like a fish being reeled in. As he and the minister entered the baptismal, I prayed that being baptized would help Big Boy. If it cured him, I had a chance to escape my own fate. But when the minister lowered him into the water, Big Boy made gurgling sounds and flailed about trying to grab hold of his penis. But he couldn’t. Next day Big Boy and his mother moved away. And for years I waited in terror for my own helmet, my crippled legs, my howl.

on a spring morning
a leaf falls in the back yard
no fear, no sense of fate

—From New Shoes, the working title of Gilmore’s collection-in-progress of haibun and haibun stories to be released by KYSO Flash Press next spring

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