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

Beetle Child

by Miho Nonaka

All summer, my poet friend was busy
tending a beetle her husband picked for her
instead of a cocktail dress.
They named it after their favorite
sumo wrestler.
She and I share the same body type,
dry skin and melancholy frame of mind,
and we both remain childless.
Beetles are not meant to survive
autumn, even those fat, shiny ones
from fancy department stores in Tokyo.
They die like hollow chestnuts
whether or not they receive food,
water, and quality affection verging on
desperation—she even fed her beetle
with the sherbet flesh of an out-of-season
melon that comes in a wooden box,
a premium gift for the sick.
Now, fallen leaves surround their house.
As she rakes in silence,
I fold a tiger out of golden origami,
complaining about my drafty bed
and frostbitten toes. Just like this,
words are dry enough to burn, and fire is for
sharing. We are at the end of the season,
trying to close the door
that isn’t there.


—Published previously in The Cresset, Michaelmas 2014 (Vol. LXXXVIII, No. 1, p. 21); appears here with author’s permission


Miho Nonaka
Issue 9, Spring 2018

is a bilingual poet from Tokyo. Her poems and essays have appeared in various journals and anthologies, including American Letters & Commentary, Cimarron Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House, and American Odysseys: Writings by New Americans (Dalkey Archive Press). Her work was nominated in 2007 for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches English creative writing at Wheaton College.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

A Writer’s Insight: Miho Nonaka, an interview by Kathleen Boland in The Southern Review (10 August 2017)

Production of Silk, CNF/lyric essay by Miho Nonaka in Kenyon Review Online (March/April 2017)

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