KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Prose Poem: 134 words


by Jeff Friedman

Forgiveness is a house with open doors and windows and the voices rushing through the house, leaves scattered on the wood floor. When you forgive, demons escape from your body. They ride out on your breath like bubbles or blinding rays of light. They sweat from your brow. They spark from your fingertips. They walk out of your bones, wearing your clothes. When you forgive, the sky grows denser and darker. The map of your future dissolves in your hands. You bow your head as though taking communion or receiving a curse in a graveyard. “Let it go,” everyone says but you have let it go and yet it’s still ringing inside you. Forgiveness comes when you least expect, like a siren on a crowded street or the crack before the ceiling gives.


Jeff Friedman’s
Issue 9, Spring 2018

seventh book of poems, Floating Tales, was published in fall 2017 by Plume Editions/MadHat Press. He also has five poetry collections with Carnegie Mellon University Press, including Pretenders (2014), Working in Flour (2011), and Black Threads (2008). His poems, mini stories, and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Poetry International, Plume, Hotel Amerika, Flash Fiction Funny, Agni Online, The New Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poets, Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Smokelong Quarterly, The Vestal Review, The New Republic, and numerous other literary magazines.

Friedman’s co-translation with Dzvinia Orlowsky of Memorials: A Selection by Polish poet Mieczyslaw Jastrun was published by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014, and the two translators were awarded a National Endowment Literature Translation Fellowship for 2016. Among numerous other awards and prizes, Friedman has also received two individual Artist Grants from the New Hampshire Arts Council.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Interview with Poet/Translators Dzvinia Orlowsky and Jeff Friedman by William Doreski in Solstice (Spring 2016)

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