KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 8: August 2017
Prose Poem 253 words [R]

As If Loneliness

by Judy Reeves

were a spell you could cast—neck feathers of a hummingbird, three stones in the shape of a star, a candle smelling of sage. Chant three times:

Your father died
Your lover left you
The coyotes got your dog

What do you do in the case of thunder, when you hear the train in the distance, the night of the full moon? These are the times you prepare your bed with clean sheets, open your bible at random and mark the place with a lock of your hair, lay in the good whiskey. Somewhere along the passage of day to night, you ask forgiveness and make good the promise you swore to your father on his deathbed when he took your hand and told you he didn’t know your mother, that he found you in the backseat of his Ford when he’d left the keys in the ignition, a quick stop at the liquor store before heading out of town. But maybe you made that up. Maybe he told you he wasn’t your father. Maybe he told you you’re nobody’s child. An orphan in an orphan’s world. Thank god for the kind hearts and tender souls of the good sisters. They know about loneliness. Why else would they marry a dead man? It’s your own life you have to save now. You light the sage-scented candle and measure three drops of arsenic into the bath, open the door on the wild parrots’ cage. Tell them it’s now or never.


—Previously published in the San Diego Poetry Annual 2016-17 (Garden Oak Press, February 2017); republished here with author’s permission and kind assistance from Garden Oak Press

Judy Reeves
Issue 8, August 2017

is a writer, teacher and writing-practice provocateur whose books include A Writer’s Book of Days (New World Library, 2010), which was named among the “hottest books for writers” and won the 2010 San Diego Books Award for Best Nonfiction; and four others published by New World Library: Wild Women, Wild Voices (2015); Writing Alone, Writing Together (2002); A Creative Writer’s Kit: A Spirited Companion and Lively Muse for the Writing Life (2003); and The Writer’s Retreat Kit: A Guide for Creative Exploration and Personal Expression (2005). Her work has also appeared in the San Diego Reader and Personal Journaling magazine, as well as in several anthologies, including among others A Year in Ink (Volumes I and V) and The Frozen Moment: Contemporary Writers on the Choices that Change Our Lives.

Judy taught writing at the University of California, San Diego Extension; and she now leads private writing and creativity workshops, and speaks at writing conferences internationally. She is a cofounder of San Diego Writers, Ink where she served as Executive Director.

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