KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Ekphrastic Haibun: 294 words

Elsie

by Kathryn J. Stevens
 

Another week? Another lousy week. And I ain’t gettin’ no jack til then. And me standin’ here for all them hours like one of them statues y’see in the park, and not so much as a ciggy or a cuppa joe on offer.

What for all that fuss-budgetin’ with brushes and mucky colors, and then slap dabblin’ black just about all over.’ Why black ain’t even a color.

You give me the heebie-jeebies, mister, starin’ at me like I was somethin’ inna dis-play case at the Five and Dime and all the time mumblin’ to y’self. An this here gar-mend. Now I ain’t no Mrs. Grundy, but a get-up like this—open all the way from uptown to downtown—I’m a decent girl y’know, and folks back home’d turn six shades of purple seein’ me in this, an wearin’ lipstick and nail varnish to boot.

You didn’t say a word ’bout all these glad-rags when you come up on me in the breadline. All that baloney ’bout how I was the bees knees, and how it would ree-quire you no time at all to paint a pour-tret of me, and how you was famous, and how everybody’d know me too.

You must’a thought I was some kinda sap buyin’ all yer gab, an you so spifflicated it was near amazin’ you was still upright in them boots. I wasn’t half sure you was on the up’n up, but these days a girl can’t be too picky, what with folks divin’ off bridges, and all them stores bare’n boarded over.

No jack? Should’a knowed you was just beatin’ your gums. Why I got half a mind to chuck this here jug right at your moony face.

daybreak
on his breath
the smell of moonlight

 

—Inspired by a painting by George Benjamin Luks: Elsie, oil on canvas (1930)

Kathryn J. Stevens
Issue 7, Spring 2017

worked in marketing communications with IBM and before that with one of the divisions of The State University of New York at Albany. Her poems have been published recently in Modern Haiku, Frog Pond, Ribbons, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, and KYSO Flash. She currently lives with her husband and elderly cat in Cary, North Carolina.

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