KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Ekphrastic Haibun Story: 232 words

A Missive from Genevieve

by Deborah Guzzi
After: “The Mask,” from The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers (1895)
After: Madame Récamier, painted by Jacques-Louis David (1800)

For beauty to be preserved, decay cannot occur; no nuance can affect the panache which elevates the person or object to pedestaled-heights. And, though I knew naught of the content of Boris’ alchemist potion—fool that I am—I pursued my own quest for immortality with fierce determination, studying each marble-like encapsulation, of lily or goldfish, as a gift of love.

I—enfant terrible—defied my father’s fear for me, and courted Boris’ affection to stay the fresh cheek of spring upon my skin. Garbed in trust, I assuage my doubts by focusing on the flicker of life within each opaline piece. On this humid Parisian night in La Ville Lumière, I fantasize: I will be Madame Récamier—an odalisque on a velvet chaise—and Boris, the artist Jacques-Louis David.

the pool is full
of last night’s potion:
the scent of croissants

I’ve no desire for food. Who cares for stone lilies, such insanity? Perhaps, it is I who am of unsound mind. However, he promised me eternal beauty. What allure have I without the shadows cast by the golden sun? Yet, certainly it is true madness to rot? My note drops from my hand.

my chin lifts
to the bells of Sacré-Coeur:
in liquid opal, I lie


—Finalist in the KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge

Deborah Guzzi
Issue 5, Spring 2016

is a healing facilitator specializing in Japanese Shiatsu and Reiki. She writes for massage and aromatherapy publications. She travels the world seeking writing inspiration. She has walked the Great Wall of China and has visited Nepal (during the civil war), Japan, Egypt (two weeks before “The Arab Spring”), Peru, and France (during December’s terrorist attacks).

Her poetry appears in a range of publications worldwide: here/there:poetry in the UK; Existere: Journal of Arts and Literature in Canada; Tincture Journal in Australia; Cha: An Asian Literary Journal in Hong Kong; Eunoia Review in Singapore; Latch Key Tales in New Zealand; mgv2>publishing in France; Vine Leaves Literary Journal in Greece; and in India, RædLeafPoetry-India.

USA publications include Travel by the Books: A Literary Travel Journal; Ribbons: Tanka Society of America Journal; Soundings Review; KYSO Flash; The Aurorean; Crack the Spine Literary Magazine; Liquid Imagination; Poetry Quarterly; Illumen (Alban Lake Publishing); Sweet Dreams and Night Terrors: An Anthology of Dark Dreamscapes and Seductive Terrors (Silent Fray, July 2014); and others.

The Hurricane, Guzzi’s new collection of poems, is available through Prolific Press.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Home on the Range/Beppu, Japan, haibun in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal (Issue 27, March 2015)

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