KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 4: Fall 2015
Prose Poem: 281 words


by Kathryn Kulpa

When I was a kid I could see through closed eyes. I’d stare for the longest time, shut my eyes, and suddenly I’d be outside myself, hovering like a dragonfly, seeing everything in mad color.

I tried, last week, in the park. I rode the bus to the end of the line, to one of those shabby valley towns. The kind that still call their downtown The Strip, even though nothing’s there but used-car lots and check-cashing shops. The kind we used to live in, when we were poor. I brought a quart of orange juice and a striped plastic beach cushion that looked like it belonged on someone’s patio furniture (and did, in fact: my neighbor’s). I brought my favorite old spiral notebook, the one with He-Man’s face on it, and looked for the perfect spot. I found the oldest, gnarled-est tree, a Tolkien tree, you would have sworn hobbits lived there. I lay under it, hands pressing grass, the soft new growth that yielded and the dried blades that fought back, splintery and tough. I was like them. Why you always looking for a fight, boy? our housekeeper Marisol would ask me, rinsing my shirt in cold water so the blood wouldn’t set. You got everything you want. But I had nothing. I would trade lives with her, with anyone.

I lay looking up, watching tiny squares of sunlight flicker through the green canopy, feeling my body heat and cool, feeling the earth’s slow spin. Trying to turn back, to breathe in earth time, the time of trees and tortoises. Then I was me again. It never lasts.

But for a minute I was almost there.

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