KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 5: Spring 2016
Haibun: 246 words [R]

Life After Floss

by Ray Rasmussen

After lunch I wander into the bathroom and, blast it, I can’t remember whether I’d flossed this morning. So should I floss now when I may already have?

Just last week while picking away at the plaque, my dental hygienist led off with, “Do you floss every morning and evening?”

Why ask? She already knows the answer. I suspect she’s deliberately careless with the pick because I’d scheduled my yearly visit a bit late...okay, 18 months late. I dare not deflect with “I dunno, I forget,” because Ms. Dominatrix’s pick is poised for further punishment.

Just as past generations of parents tried to encourage good behavior by warning their children of the boogeyman, she too predicts gloom and doom. Were she more adept at cautionary tales, she might model the practices of the clergy who scared boys with the threat that masturbation leads to blindness, or worse, causes hair to grow on the palms of the sinner’s hands. I remember keeping my hands in my pockets for an entire month for fear that their meanderings in the shower would reveal what I’d been up to.

Here’s what it comes down to. Were I to lose a tooth before something else went, would it be so bad? If that’s all I lose in the next few years, I’ll feel blessed. But should I worry that other more important things are slipping away?

a steady drizzle
from morning to night—
mispeled words

—First appeared in bottle rockets (2013); republished here by author’s permission from Landmarks: A Haibun Collection (Haibun Bookshelf Publishing, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; 2015)

Ray Rasmussen
Issue 5, Spring 2016

lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. A retired university professor, he spends his time writing, image making, and wandering about in wilderness places. His haiku, haiga, haibun, and articles have appeared in the print journals: Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and bottle rockets; and in these online journals, among others: The Heron’s Nest, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, A Hundred Gourds, Simply Haiku, Haigaonline, tiny words, Roadrunner, Lynx, Blithe Spirit, Cattails, and Notes from the Gean.

Rasmussen’s work has been reprinted in five anthologies, and his book, Landmarks: A Haibun Collection, is available on He currently serves as haibun editor of Haibun Today. In addition, he maintains an extensive resource website for haiku, haibun, haiga, photo- and art-haiku, and tanka prose at: Ray’s Web: Haiku.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Ray’s Web: Photography, which offers several galleries with remarkable images of the natural world

Showing the Shadow: Ray Rasmussen on Haiku, Haiga and Haibun, a conversation with Jeffrey Woodward in Haibun Today (Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011)

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