KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Haibun: 179 words


by Roy Beckemeyer

The snow-peaked Andes tumble down from dizzy, drunken heights to rest, at last, as dry-mouthed foothills; they ramble, dreamlike, become desert slinking wordlessly into the sea. Out where the Pacific blue of waters meets the awakening blue of sky, clouds born of ocean mist rush upward on inshore winds, swelling and whitening as they climb. We stop to snatch at breath, sip coca tea to sooth high-altitude hangovers. We are bent like the scandent, wind-pruned trees around us, but lift our heads when we spy them: a triplet of Andean Condors, broad wings stretching to gather all the air they can hold, slides over the vastness, buoyant as caballitos de totora, the reed boats that ride the surf off Huanchaco. Our guide signs himself with the cross, fingers brushing forehead, chest, heart. “En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo,” he mumbles. I repeat the sign, my lips forming the words, the tenuous air ballooning my lungs, then bring binoculars to my eyes.

condors wheel, pivot,
become cross-shaped silhouettes—
life in search of death


Roy Beckemeyer
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is a retired aeronautical engineer and scientific journal editor from Wichita, Kansas, who studies fossil insects and writes poetry. He has described and named more than twenty species of Paleozoic insects. He recently edited Kansas Time + Place: An Anthology of Heartland Poetry (Little Balkans Press, 2017). He began writing poems to his high school sweetheart, Pat, now his wife of 56 years. They have lived in Kansas for more than 50 of those years, and have traveled widely, from Antarctica to Kamchatka, Belize to Vanuatu.

Beckemeyer has poems published in half a dozen anthologies and numerous print and online journals, such as The Midwest Quarterly, Kansas City Voices, The North Dakota Review, Dappled Things, and I-70 Review. His collection of ekphrastic poems, Amanuensis Angel, is forthcoming from Spartan Press in 2018. His debut collection of poetry, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Review and Press, 2014), was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book. He won the 2016 Kansas Voices Poetry Award.

Poet’s blog: Phanaerozoic: Musings about life on Earth in all its aspects

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