Independence Day

Girls didn’t leave home until the wedding in those days. Still, she was bound for the city, watching the darkness gather outside the window, her body relaxing as the train sped along, the droning of the wheels lulling her, she grasps the last bit of light ringing the horizon and plucks a single image from the invisible flow of memories streaming across her awareness.

nightfall
the way a mother’s voice
might soften

Contemporary Haibun Online

April 1, 2022

Rave On

It is a bitter cold day in February and I foolishly leave the house without gloves. By the time I realize it, I have reached the corner where my friends are hanging out, and I have no desire to return home so I shove my hands in my pockets and forget about them.

purple clouds 
a groundhog slips
on the ice

The sky darkens and I notice the wind biting my hands every time I take them out of my pockets. Finally, I get tired of the endless talk of Buddy Holly’s plane crash and I go home.  Once inside the house, my hands begin to sting and burn.  I am surprised to see how white they are.  Stupidly, I run to the bathroom sink and plunge them into warm water.  I scream in pain and eventually my mother comes. 

double dare
her tongue sticks
to an icicle

My hands are red and swollen with blisters. The pain is excruciating and I can’t sleep. In the morning, a doctor is summoned to the house and he diagnoses chilblains. 

guitar riff fingering the pain scale over the top

Eventually, my hands heal but the memory of that searing pain returns whenever it is cold. I never again forget my gloves.  

A few years later, as a student nurse, I am assigned to the burn unit.  I don an isolation gown and take elaborate precautions to protect my patient from infection.  His chest, arms and hands are covered with burns.  

howling wind
a wounded deer 
crosses my path

Failed Haiku A Journal of English Senryu

Vol 6 Issue 72

It’s 1952 Again

We’re transplants from the clotted streets of Brooklyn to a brand new tract home next to a Long Island farm. We spend the summer catching tadpoles in giant jars of stream water. We watch them turn into slippery and hard-to-grasp toads. This place is idyllic, perfect. But only for a minute.

Darkness sets in along with a tightness in my chest.  The muck on the bottom of the stream grows like something in a horror movie. My feet are stuck  but I break away, heart pounding. 

Looking back, my best friend Johnny is caught in the muck. He turns into an enormous tadpole and I watch him disappear into the murky water. I scream his name until my mother comes. The only word I hear her say is polio.

falling from a tree the blue of a robin’s egg

Grandmother’s Pearls : An Anthology of Dream Poems

ed. Alexis Rotella

Published 2021

Midnight Shift

Only this time, I’m wearing a gown, mask, gloves and a cap just like the ones we wore in the OR years ago. Except I’m not in the OR, but an isolation unit. It’s summer and I’m sweating– moisture flows between my breasts, down the inside of my legs, my back. The mask is soaked, breath sour. As soon as I finish with one patient’s care, another is rolled in. Then another. And another.

no breath
a so-called friend
holds my head under

Grandmother’s Pearls : An Anthology of Dream Poems

ed. Alexis Rotella

Published 2021

In Clover

The design on the fern fronds gets me wondering about how it all began. Who, or what, set the world into motion?  A young bunny hops out of the herb garden. There must be a billion white flowers in my lawn.

milky way
all the questions
no one can answer

 

Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu

September 2020

Psalm 92:2

A blanket of gold leaves covers the lawn today. The morning light glitters in the few left on the cherry tree. We still have not had a hard frost and purple sage continues to bloom. Almost everything else is gone to seed and the birds are eating well. A comfort to have their company. A chill comes through the window. If autumn is a symbol of our inevitable demise, it is a beautiful one. Each year, I am a bit less afraid. Maybe I am going home.

dawn
a door opens
to a flower garden

 

Red River Book of Haibun Vol 1

2019

Hot Romance

The summer is the best time to fall in love. Endless days with long, languid afternoons in the sun. The very definition of being young is to waste time as if it will last forever. Now I am old, but not too old to remember.

sunburn
the tingle of salt water
on my skin

I am outdoors in the cool of the early morning, sipping tea and inhaling the breath that the trees have just exhaled.  Today will be humid like the day I met him. 

dew covers
my favorite bench
morning kiss

 

Failed Haiku A Journal of English Senryu 

July 2019

New Year’s Day

Early September always feels like the beginning of something. The excitement of cool air and the scratchy feel of a new sweater. The flowers may be dying but not before they set seeds floating toward another summer. It puts a girl in the mood to stretch, maybe try some yoga or Tai Chi. Or is this the moment to dig another garden or maybe just stare out the window at the rabbit who has just appeared in my view?

getting high
on the new book smell—
fourth grade

 

Failed Haiku : A Journal of English Senryu

October 2018

A Stretch

A Stretch

The truth is, I was born outside of my comfort zone, thank you very much, and now that I am beginning my eighth decade, I want to crawl into my happy place and stay there forever, preferably with a blanket and a cup of tea. I don’t have the energy to think outside the box.  

nodding off —
the i-pad slips
from my knees

Prune Juice: A Journal of Senryu

July 2018