KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Tanka Tale: 186 words


by Kathryn J. Stevens


Our island remains remote and as cold as your green eyes. Most days I lie nibbling on seaweed beside a sleek harbor seal until the light wears thin, and the rocks cast shadow nets onto the surf.

Walking on the scree-splattered beach among brown tide pools and moon pale shells, I’ve noticed your footprints are gone. No trace for me to follow.

On rain-kissed days, I run with black-tailed deer through fierce stands of island fir. In some of the thickets, I’m sure I’ve seen the flash of your shirttail. But our island is such a charming deceiver.

In the evening’s red-gold haze, I sit on the salt-washed deck of our derelict sailboat and study the rime-capped mountains. Like you, they keep their distance. And the sheets, our soft white sheets, are no colder without you.

I’m glad you’re not here. Yet, on certain evenings when the northern lights linger too long on the rough edges of the horizon, I wonder...had I been a selkie, would you have hungered for me more?

a dinghy circles
the sunless cove
alone but not free

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