KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Tanka Prose: 272 words

“’re passing through...”

—From a sign on Mount Konocti

by Bill Gottlieb

The trail takes the Mary Downen cabin, built in 1903. *

A lone monarch makes its yellow-winged way up the mountain by me; a royal of the lower sky, it looks like a seeking heart trying to find its hiding twin. And soon a second wings in, in lilting twists and sprints, while early evening reveals—beneath a froth and flat of cloud—a county of rays like angels banking to the ground—to humans entombed in their bones and clannish innards—intent to bless, to grant the refreshments of flying beings.

I’m headed to the remnants of her homestead—on one side the shadowy woods, on the other the wide, the miles, the glide of eyes. And Mrs. Downen may meet me there, Mary’s remote ghost, flashing caught light from her mirror as she did back then every noon to her town-distant daughter, so I’ll see she’s still here—I’m here, I’m right here!—high above the shackling clatter. Maybe she’ll meet me below this canyon oak, its shade like a bath of caresses, and seeming older than harm somehow, after hundreds of years of supplication and the sure answers of the sun. And perhaps we’ll talk of the past like a husband and his wife, the leaves like a roomful of lovers mouthing nothings, the far lake silver as treasure, the nearby orchard urging the forming future—and then I’ll walk back, happy in my daily body, down the dusty fire road.

we were here
on a day you were alive
at how the dead
and the living survive


* Publisher’s Note: From For a brief trail description and background re pioneer Mary Downen, see: Konocti Regional Trails.

—Semi-finalist, KYSO Flash HTP Writing Challenge

Site contains text, proprietary computer code,
and graphic images that are protected by:

⚡   Many thanks for taking time to report broken links to: KYSOWebmaster [at] gmail [dot] com   ⚡