KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 9: Spring 2018
Poem: 317 words

Fred and Louise’s Old Place

by John L. Stanizzi

A lovely young Goth couple
bought Fred and Louise’s old place,
a tiny ranch house they manicured
for 60 years.

After Fred and Louise passed,
Karen, their daughter,
no longer young herself,
couldn’t keep it up.
It had to go.

Karen now lives in a retirement community
a couple of miles away,
and every day without fail,
in spite of a double knee replacement,
she walks all the way to her parents’ house
hoping that no one will be there
so she can peep through one of the windows
and remark that the walls have been painted black,
see the space where her mother would sit and read
illuminated now by a black-light,
recall that where the lava lamp oozes and beams,
her father’s table rested,
his pipes arranged around a large glass ashtray.

Out on the driveway the couple’s 
’98 Celica is tricked out
like a mini-Batmobile,
replete with a 3-foot-high airfoil,
and two bumper stickers—
Let there be dark!
My other car is a hearse.

And the young couple is Green,
so everything is growing up and over
Louise’s tiny picket fence,
crawling all over the wrought iron rails
on the cement steps out front,
swarming and climbing around the big rocks
Fred lugged out front one summer,
and around which he planted white daisies.
The shadows deepen,
embowered by weeds,
and the young couple,
for whom every day is Halloween,
is feeding their new house
to the elements, 

as up from the premeditated detritus,
rise Fred’s white daisies
looking nothing like
the plastic hands reaching up
here and there on the front lawn,
those grasping, plastic hands-of-the-dead
emerging from the mirage of asphodel
and jesting with the notion
that we can come back,
a little worse for the wear,
perhaps pick a daisy,
and move among the living,
as if we had never gone 
in the first place.


—From the author’s book Sundowning (now available for publication)


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