KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Poem: 168 words [R]


by Jack Cooper

Another wired day indoors
hiding my thinning skin from sun and mosquitos
I glance out the window at my neighbor
carrying his banjo out to the car
and I’m reminded that his clawhammering
woke me up again last night
which explains why I’m feeling REM deprived

The Internet says the banjo arrived in America
during the 17th century when Africans
were brought here as slaves
and frankly I wish it hadn’t by which I mean
I wish there had been no slaves
and those who love this penetrating sound
could go abroad to hear it in its original context
and a lot of people would be happier
and sleep better too

I decide to step out to give the neighbor a nod
for taking his cultural artifact off site
and I see what he actually loads in the back seat
is a small portable fan with a long neck
perhaps to rouse the wind somewhere
my dreamless state having failed once again
to fan a more virtuous reality


—Published previously in Common Ground Review (Fall/Winter 2017); appears here with author’s permission


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