KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Haibun Story: 192 words


by Dan Gilmore

Eddie’s mother ran off with a Nazarene, the Reverend Norman Ranger. Rode away happy as a pup on the back of his Harley. Her red hair sparkled in the sunlight. The last thing she said to Eddie was, “Promise me you won’t grow up to be like your father.”

He watched until they disappeared over the hill and the dust settled. He didn’t know how he felt about preachers on motorcycles. Seemed like gravy on ice cream. His father called the Nazarene a heathen liar. He didn’t shed a tear when, a week later, they ran off the hundred-foot-high Cedar Creek bridge. “Died instantly,” the doctor said, as if he knew something nobody else could know. “Hope not too instantly,” Eddie’s father said.

Eddie couldn’t take it in. He tried to pray for his mother’s soul, but his throat locked up. What was she thinking when they ran off the bridge? Was she screaming? Was she terrified? No, impossible. She was smiling, her head pressed to the preacher’s back, saying a prayer of thanks for the one week of happiness the Lord had given her.

railroad tracks
forever parallel
never touching

—From New Shoes, Gilmore’s collection-in-progress of haibun, scheduled for release later this spring by KYSO Flash Press

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