KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 6: Fall 2016
Poem: 181 words [R]

The Minefield

by Diane Thiel
He was running with his friend from town to town. 
They were somewhere between Prague and Dresden. 
He was fourteen. His friend was faster 
and knew a shortcut through the fields they could take. 
He said there was lettuce growing in one of them, 
and they hadn’t eaten all day. His friend ran a few lengths ahead, 
like a wild rabbit across the grass, 
turned his head, looked back once, 
and his body was scattered across the field.

My father told us this, one night, 
and then continued eating dinner.

He brought them with him—the minefields. 
He carried them underneath his good intentions. 
He gave them to us—in the volume of his anger, 
in the bruises we covered up with sleeves. 
In the way he threw anything against the wall—
a radio, that wasn’t even ours, 
a melon, once, opened like a head. 
In the way we still expect, years later and continents away, 
that anything might explode at any time, 
and we would have to run on alone 
with a vision like that 
only seconds behind. 

—Winner of the Robinson Jeffers Prize for Poetry in 1999 and republished here by permission from the poet’s website. This poem also appears in: Best American Poetry 1999; Echolocations, a collection of poems by Diane Thiel (Story Line Press, 2000); Poetry: An Introduction (2001) and Bedford Introduction to Literature (2002), both from St. Martin’s Press; and Revenge and Forgiveness: An Anthology of Poems (Henry Holt, 2004).

Diane Thiel
Issue 6, Fall 2016

is the author of ten books of poetry, nonfiction, and creative writing pedagogy; most recently, Winding Roads: Exercises in Writing Creative Nonfiction (Pearson Education, 2008). She has received numerous awards, including the Robert Frost Award, the Robinson Jeffers Award, and the New Millennium Writings Award. Her work appears in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Hudson Review, and Best American Poetry 1999, and is reprinted in dozens of national and international anthologies (including those published by Longman, Bedford, Harper Collins, Beacon, Henry Holt, and McGraw Hill).

Thiel has been a professor of creative writing for more than ten years and has taught in innovative settings such as the NSF program: Ecology for Urban Students, and for the Miami Book Fair’s Poet in the Schools program. She was a Fulbright Scholar for 2001-2002 and is currently Professor of English/Creative Writing at the University of New Mexico.

More information, including readings and lectures, at her website:

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