KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Tanka Tale: 182 words [R]


by Urszula Funnell

Perhaps she should have taken the time to learn the rules. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, but it had always seemed so difficult. There was something about the way he smiled at her whenever she made a wrong move.

It was sort of...not a smile.

She’d never wanted to play the game in the first place but had gone along with it. There was always that lingering feeling, as if somehow she should have known what was coming, known how to outmanoeuvre him.

And now that she had, she thought perhaps she ought to feel differently.

She picked up the pieces one by one and returned them to their correct places in the box. She noticed a spot of red on one of the knights. Using a napkin, she wiped it and placed it facing towards the centre.

The way that he had shown her.

Having second thoughts, she turned it facing outwards. Perhaps she did feel differently after all.

she knocks down the king
in stony silence
after being beaten
all these years


—First-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.

Urszula Funnell
Issue 5, Spring 2016

is a tanka poet who lives in Brighton, England. Her works appear in a variety of online publications and have won placings in a number of contests, including first place in the TSA Tanka Prose Contest 2015, and second place in Mandy’s Pages Tanka Prose Contest 2015.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Winners of the Annual Tanka Contest 2015 at Mandy’s Pages, judged by Claire Everett, editor of the Skylark tanka journal, and David Terelinck, editor of GUSTS: Contemporary Tanka

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