KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Poem: 177 words

Reflections in a Diner Window Pane

by Michelle Perez
I don’t know if they were witches’ caps 
or the corners of Satan’s menus 
bobbing in patrons’ hands.  
But something told me to get out 
of that empty lot.

Night was in you. 
For how many times had dawn’s shadow
melted into a crooked line?  
“Don’t bother,” you said.
And fool that I was, I didn’t.

Looking through the car windshield,
they could have been denim fingers, 
unbuckled chin straps...
or just Halloween’s fierce reflections.

The same way a space helmet 
will swallow a blue-nosed dog.
“Tilt the key,” you said,
a flicker of fear in your voice.

Jim, your instructions, spoken
in black chalk...

The glass wall crumpled. 
One child grew a beard, 
another was drinking manila folders.  
At least half a dozen of them 
shuffled in line, laughed or pointed,
as they followed the exits. Their hairy wrists 
knotted to a bronze rope.

Yet, I lost all 
in the overlap of menus, 
the matter-of-fact of your voice,
the full drive home. 

“Perhaps it wasn’t children,” you said, 
“but indecision.”

—Finalist in the KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge

Michelle Perez
Issue 5, Spring 2016

lived in Miami and South Florida for a number of years. She was a James Michener Fellow in the University of Miami creative writing program. Her poems have appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Kalliope, and, most recently, in the ViêtNow National Magazine.

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