KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Haibun Story: 216 words [R]

Love Story (With Fire Demon and Tengu)

by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Maybe in this version you are a bird, and I have become an old woman. Maybe you are a falling star. It’s hard to love someone in a castle—they always feel distant. I will open a flower shop and learn to speak German, take to wearing ruffled dresses and straw hats. You’d like to pin me down, but you could tell my feet weren’t touching the ground. I called your name over and over, but you couldn’t hear me above the din of the bombers. It was like movies of wartime Japan. I looked up and there were planes bulging with smoke.

The blue sky kept getting darker—
sometimes, I thought,
with your shadow.

In the end, I have a dog in my arms and a scarecrow for a friend, but I never make it to Kansas. The field is wet and stormy; I kiss three men goodnight for their magic. The door to your childhood is opening for me. It allows me passage into a brick wall, my fists full of shiny black feathers, the shell of an egg, the howl of cold wind against a mountain. Don’t worry, your heart is in good hands. Let me keep it a little longer; its blue glow illuminates everything.


—Previously published in She Returns to the Floating World (Two Sylvias Press, 2013), and in Cranky (Spring 2007) and Haibun Today (April 2008); appears here with permission from the author and Two Sylvias Press

Jeannine Hall Gailey
Issue 8, August 2017

served as second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington (2012-2013). She is an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review, teaches with the Young Artists Project at Centrum, and is the author of five books of poetry.

  • Poems from her first, Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006), have appeared on NPR’s The Writers Almanac and Verse Daily, and two were included in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (2007).

  • Her second book, She Returns to the Floating World (first published by Kitsune Books in 2011 and re-released by Two Sylvias Press in 2013), was a finalist for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal and a winner of a Florida Publishers Association Presidential Award for Poetry.

  • Unexplained Fevers was published in 2013 (New Binary Press), and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter in 2015 (Mayapple Press).

  • Her most recent book, Field Guide to the End of the World (Moon City Press, 2016), won the 2015 Moon City Press Book Prize.

Gailey’s work is also published in The Iowa Review, The Evansville Review, and The Columbia Poetry Review, among other literary venues. She holds a B.S. degree in Biology and an M.A. in English from the University of Cincinnati, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Pacific University. In 2007, she received a Washington State Artist Trust GAP Grant; and in 2007 and 2011, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize.

For additional info, see her curriculum vita at her website.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Advice Given to Me Before My Wedding, from She Returns to the Floating World at Two Sylvias Press

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