KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Tanka Tale: 288 words


by Claire Everett

the same willows
perhaps the warblers, too
and she, laughing
barefoot on her swing
all those summers ago

No matter what, we return: to places, times, each other, ourselves. It could be that, born of its dust, we continue along the path of the star from whence we came; that wherever it goes, we follow. Yet I am told that these skies, season by season, are mere illusion as year upon year we journey around the sun. So, too, the dusk to dawn procession, through an octave of blue.

as if
Leonardo alone
eyes turned skyward, we put words
in a dreamer’s mouth

Here, in the lap of my forefathers, I have learned to hold a pencil, tell a bunting from a sparrow, cut staves from yew and ash.

deep autumn
and yet, the roebuck’s gaze...
how dull my brown eyes
until this fifth and last child
awoke from a dream

At the hip of my maternal line, I am gentle as can be, stronger than I believe, steeled as gossamer. Lullabies, recipes, freckles, I know all by heart. I am my grandmother’s granddaughter, wetting my palm to slick the young’un’s cowlick. I stand in the shadows of others with their chill in my spine, looking out across these half-remembered, half-forgotten, beloved yet-untrodden hills, doubting if even these eyes are mine.

lifting the lid
on summer’s palette...
into a memory
of willow-patterned light

She’s unaware I am watching her, yet smiles as if someone has come silently, invisibly, to sit by her side. It is another’s delicate hand that moves hers.

a splodge of green
and the clink of sable brush
in water glass...
in the shade by the frog pond,
sketchbook on my knee


Painting by Vasily Kandinsky: Einige Kreise (Several Circles)
Einige Kreise (Several Circles)
Oil on canvas (1926)
By Vasily Kandinsky

For larger image with more vibrant colors, see
Several Circles, Wassily Kandinsky dot net.

Publisher’s Note: While Kandinsky’s painting is in the public domain, the original resides at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The reproduction here was downloaded from


Claire Everett
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is the founding editor of Skylark tanka journal and former tanka-prose editor for Haibun Today. She is the author of two tanka collections: twelve moons and The Small, Wild Places. She is co-author of Hagstones: A Tanka Journey with Joy McCall, and Talking in Tandem with her husband, Tony Everett. Claire served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka (Volume 4, 2011), and in 2015 she edited the Tanka Society of America’s Members’ Anthology, Spent Blossoms. She joined the editorial panel for the Red Moon Anthology in 2017.

Mum to five children and step-mum to two, Claire likes nothing better than to be cycling through the Dales with Tony on their trusty tandem, Tallulah, or walking on the North Yorkshire Moors. Claire earns a living as a support worker for adults with autism, learning disabilities, and complex needs.

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