The Last Cousin

d’Verse Poets Pub – Prosery #3: Love After Love

I’m Kim from Writing in North Norfolk, welcoming dVerse poets to the third ever Prosery prompt, when we ask you to write a very short piece of prose that tells a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end, in any genre of your choice.

As it’s flash fiction, we have a limit of 144 words; an additional challenge is to hit 144 exactly. The special thing about Prosery is that we give you a complete line from a poem, which must be included somewhere in your story, within the 144-word limit.

For the third Prosery, I’d like you to write a story that includes the following line from ‘Love After Love’, a poem by Derek Walcott:

‘You will love again the stranger who was your self’.

The Last Cousin

I carefully pack a dozen jars of homemade grape jam into a cardboard box. Each jar is wrapped in newspaper to keep them from banging together on the three-hour drive to Lake Erie. The buns and a tub of peanut butter are already in the back of my Jeep.

It’s the annual ‘Cousinfest” weekend. I’m the only one left of five. I plan to hold a remembrance ceremony on the beach. I’ll stay up all night eating PB&J sandwiches, that had been our tradition since we were teenagers. In the morning, I’ll scatter the ashes of cousin Number Four in the rose garden of the beach house.

I don’t know how I’ll carry on without those girls who were closer to me than sisters.

I hold tight to the last words of Number Four, “You will love again the stranger who was your self”.

16 thoughts on “The Last Cousin

  1. This struck so close to home! For over 30 years three dear friends and I spent a week in the Great Smoky Mountains every autumn. I, too, am the only one left. We are the keepers of memories!

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  2. Very beautiful way to remember. I had 24 cousins plus those I don’t know from my dad who died. This is the age when I’m beginning to lose them, 2 this year. And being the oldest, it is sobering.

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  3. I lost my last cousin to lung cancer last year. I understand the sadness. I only had 4 cousins but we were close. I like the commemorative meal on the beach. These food items hold such memories for us all. Such a bittersweet write.

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