KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Poem: 224 words

The month after the divorce

by Emily Rose Cole
I can’t recreate the miracle
that magicks my father’s stones lighter than water
when he takes me to Lake Nockamixon. Late August
in Pennsylvania, everything folding back
into seed: pitch pines dropping 
sap on the bank we scour 
for the flattest, smoothest stones.  

I love their heft and glimmer, my hand’s
sudden weightlessness as they whistle into dusk. 

I count those skips like heartbeats,
each a moment of forgetting
the clutch of gravity.
I’m younger than my number of fingers
but even I know that everything returns  
to its natural state: jewelweed only silvers
as long as I hold it underwater, 
and next month, frost will bury 
the frog burrowed in our storm drain. 

I’m no fool. I know one day
my father’s fierce temper will burn me
worse than it burned my mother.

When he asks me if he should fight
for custody, I watch damselflies 
hunt aphids in the reeds and remember
how the corner of his coffee table fractured the face
of my favorite china doll. It doesn’t matter

how much I love him. I hurl a rock 
at the damselflies and know love 
won’t stop it from coming down. 

Later, we eat Creamsicles 
on my mother’s porch swing.
The light flickers off, no welcome 
mat at the door. We say goodbye
and goodbye and goodbye.

—Second-Place Winner in the KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge

Emily Rose Cole
Issue 5, Spring 2016

is a writer and lyricist from Pennsylvania. Her debut folk album I Wanna Know is available on iTunes and Amazon. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and has received awards from Jabberwock Review, Ruminate Magazine, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Nimrod, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Passages North, among others.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

“The Bond Girls,” “The Target Girl Learns to Eat Knives,” and two other poems in SOFTBLOW

George Bailey, 749-word flash fiction in Bartleby Snopes (December 2015)

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