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Volume 35.2
Summer 2004


sample haibun


A Way To Go

Her father, emeritus professor of philosophy, man of few words. His mark left on her because of the neurotic mother. There now with him, in his best suit, in her sitting room, ready to go. A bit of a squeeze to get him into the coffin, such angular bones. The indignity if he didn’t reach his birthplace nicely laid.
A clapped-out taxi hoots from the street below, she gets the driver to help her manhandle the coffin down three flights of stairs. A two-door car, they tip the front seat forward and screw the box round onto the back seat. No seat-belt to hold it firm.

She gets in next to the driver, settles. Soon, hinges whinge as the metalled city road withers away. An hour from Bucharest the chipboard coffin starts to creak.

a blinkered lazy mule
quickens its step

Mistaking the way at a fork. Potholes and a sudden lurch. One hand to hold down the map in her lap, showing the driver where she thinks they should be going. Here, towards Dracula’s Castle. The other hand making a desperate grab at the coffin lid, gaping open.

mending signposts
the carpenter points the way
with a long nail

David Cobb

Waiting to Exhale

The room is full of people. Some I know and others I’ve never met. The air is stuffy, thick with the scent of too many flowers. My father is on the far side of the room. It’s been months since I’ve seen him. He has a beard now and it looks good on him. We spoke on the telephone recently, but I wasn’t very receptive. He wished me a merry Christmas and said I love you. I thought to myself, “don’t hold your breath if you expect me to say the same.” Then I quickly said goodbye and hung up the phone. I wonder if he knew anyway—that I love him too. All the things I would have said, too late now. My brother takes me by the hand and leads me over. I take a deep breath and hold it as I get closer and closer to my father’s casket.

mockingbird song
buried in a suit
he never wore

Katherine Cudney



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