I learned this week that I missed NaHaiWriMo (Haiku a Day Writing Month), which was March. But, no matter, I write a haiku a day anyway, and I’m celebrating NaPoWriMo (Poem a Day Writing Month) with extra vigor, writing haiku and prose in haibun. I also cheated by starting early—I’m on spring break right now and won’t be next week—and so I’m writing more than one haibun a day.
As promised, I’m posting them on Thursdays during April. These are today’s output. I’ve kept the numbers assigned to them.
Some rains keep the world dark all day, and some people appreciate steady half-light, steady pelting, steady captivity. I enjoy rain too if life waits. On days I’m happy to rest, I stand at my window, watch the lake form at a nearby intersection, and study people leaping it as if in a steeplechase or, like ants blocked by a finger, weave left and right seeking the proper place to ford the more-than-puddle before them. It’s just a puddle to me… or will be until the clock demands departure, need calls, or some summons insists. Then I learn all this time my study has been practical, teaching me how to enter the unwanted, to bear it instead of looking from afar.
sitting in a bath
I listen to the faucet’s
In fourth grade, when I returned from Christmas vacation, Molly’s desk sat empty. I wasn’t surprised because she missed so much school, and, when she was there, she skipped music and art and recess to fill worksheets she hadn’t seen yet. Molly’s skin was as near translucent as I could imagine, blue networks visible just beneath the surface—every visible surface—and her blonde hair grew thin like grass in poisoned soil. She didn’t look at me much, and we hardly ever spoke, but I knew her eyes even when I closed mine. They said surrender. Their pale and weary blue slid from the sky, too tired to stay aloft.
on the blackboard’s edges,
ghosts on the border
I was sitting in my desk as Mrs. Mitchell gathered Molly’s things—a few books, some supplies, but nothing that said Molly really, nothing like the eccentric mess under everyone else’s desktop. When Mrs. Mitchell told the class Molly died before New Year’s Eve, some people already knew and a few cried or fought tears. I must not have believed it. The whole day seemed temporary to me, every worksheet another Molly would have to do.
outside the window, you see
last night, a cheer rose
from many neighbors’ houses—
I don’t know why
In any alphabetical list I’m almost always the middle. I like to count how many precede and follow me, happy when it’s even.
On the first day of a Shakespeare class I asked the students why they were there. One of them answered, “Because he’s famous.” I’d heard that response before, of course, but never so baldly put.
My daughter was in kindergarten that year, and, on the drive home, I asked her, “Honey, do you know who Shakespeare is?”
“He wears pumpkin pants,” she said.
the newspaper still holds
When I can’t sleep, I look for morning’s signs—the first defined shadows, a car sweeping by, a word uttered on the sidewalk in front of our house. The alarm often comes first.
half a mile away, checkered lights