KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Tanka Tale: 319 words [R]

The Window Poem

by Claire Everett

If eyes are the windows of the soul, what then this window with its perhaps hand that, like spring, comes carefully out of nowhere.

Deft as that green-fingered season, moving a perhaps fraction of flower here placing an inch of air there. Sometimes there is a velvet backdrop, an ornament or two upon the ledge. But I’ve yet to see the hand, let alone its sleight.

dress rehearsal:
the stagehand replenishes
paper and ribbon
doubles as prompter
softly uttering lines

One day the curtains were drawn aside, revealing a room that might have been written into the poem last displayed (John Cage’s “Each Day Unexpected Shade”), and beyond, late afternoon light through a door left ajar offered a glimpse of hollyhocks and terracotta: a small corner belonging to someone who had left “The Peace of Wild Things” crisp upon the platen.

Surely I can’t be the only pauser-by?

the glissando
of the carriage return
a few last grace notes
finger by finger, the maestro
removes his white gloves

A year now since I first chanced upon it in a side street of this little market town. And now, habit dictates that I must come here on arrival and again before I depart, to fix the charm. What I should do if I happened upon the master at his art, the change as it was made, I do not know. What is certain is that an erudite stranger conjures this display for who-knows-who, and whether the scene changes daily, weekly, monthly, remains a mystery.

Carefully there a strange thing of a poem I’ve never heard of...a known thing here of one I learned by heart.

in morning light
the soliloquy
an audience of one
in the palm of his hand

Author’s Note: Italicized text is from “Spring is like a perhaps hand” by E. E. Cummings.

—Third-Place Winner in the 2015 Tanka Prose Contest (A Tanka Society of America Fifteenth Anniversary Special Event); republished here with permissions from the author and the Tanka Society of America

Note from the Tanka Society of America (TSA):

Last year we celebrated TSA’s 15th anniversary with a special event, a tanka prose contest. Each submission to the contest included a title, a prose portion not exceeding 300 words, and one to three tanka. The noted writer and editor Bob Lucky (also a KYSO Flash contributor) selected first, second, and third prize winners and two honorable mentions. All five works are republished in this issue of KYSO Flash. The results and contest details are available at the Society’s website.

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