KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Haibun: 219 words


by Bill Gottlieb

The roofer might get divorced, sell the house—last week the wife informed him their marriage is a “convenience,” doesn’t love him, never did.

He stopped smoking four days ago; his uppers are a forest after a fire, stumps and a few fulvid survivors.

He drinks two or three beers after dinner, just right for the empty night.

On the road by Forest Lake his truck spun out on black ice, hit a tree; the cab was kayoed but the head hung tough, fate’s helmet.

His short-term’s shot after ten months of chemo, colon like an early worm, insides eaten out.

He drove days to save his daughter, a raped veteran; the scars on her arms are from a friendly—herself—wielding the upper-handed weapon, the sadly adequate blade.

Our house, we find out, was badly framed during the addition: water was dripping down the fixture in the kitchen; ants were whooping it up in a leaky valley, drunk on rain, crawling home to the dependent, engendering queen.

Inevitably every contractor tells me his story.

I listen like a lover—the time of day is mine to give, and I do—then hammer word’s weight into paper, a white tarp over past’s stash.

Waterproof as I will tears might get through.

frost on shingles
slipping up
into sun


Bill Gottlieb,
Issue 9, Spring 2018

the former editor-in-chief of Prevention Books and Rodale Books, is the author of 15 health books that have sold more than three million copies, a journalist whose bylines have appeared in many magazines and periodicals, and a literary artist whose haibun and haiku have been published recently in KYSO Flash, Modern Haiku, Contemporary Haibun Online, Haibun Today, Frogpond, bottle rockets, tinywords, cattails, Manzanita, and other journals. Bill lives in northern California near The Mountain of Attention, a sanctuary established by Heart-Master Da, his spiritual guide of 40 years.

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