I’m celebrating NaPoWriMo (Poem a Day Writing Month) by writing haiku and prose in haibun. I’m posting them each Thursday in April. The entries below are yesterday’s attempts. The numbers communicate how many I’ve written so far.
Wandering the neighborhood when I was young, I passed a juniper bush and pulled dusty, blue-gray berries from branches and squeezed them between finger and thumb. The scent rising from the collision improved on any cologne I knew.
a gust rubs
leaves together—the rough sound
Some smells affect me still. I can’t smell bayberry and balsam without thinking about Christmas or licorice without thinking of Easter.
a child told me
the chalk was hers, the drawing
I can’t smell bergamot without thinking of that afternoon in London when, having spent the day at the National Museum after finding no one to share my excursion, I wandered into a shop and ordered Earl Grey. It was after tea time and too early for supper. The evening stretched over the scarred table, all the pocks and pits craters in my close attention. Then my waitress sat down with me, asking me question after question until I felt I’d had an adventure.
We said goodbye knowing we knew one another.
morning’s attention to
a lost glove
Watch enough sci-fi and you think of meeting extraterrestrials, stretching, stretching, stretching to imagine something outside your conception. If you really reached such possibilities, you’d be lost—words and gestures and emotions disparate, a meeting of rock and rock.
sparrow, I see you—
air separates us, time stalls
One of my college roommates taught me to drive stick using my other roommate’s car. We never told him. In the Sunday parking lot, I lurched from start to stop, and soon the whole affair became purely laughable. We lifted into an ether of hilarity and sometimes had to pause to breathe enough oxygen. The car complained, but we didn’t. We enjoyed everything absurd in it, as, at that moment, we thought anyone would.
I look out—the broken
gaze of shutters
Some weeks later, the car’s clutch died. I never spoke to either roommate about it, ducking my head to avoid revelation.
the last page—
notes I don’t understand
in my hand
Sometimes reviewing memories means thinking of all I might have said. When my colleague asked, I didn’t exactly say what happened and, when she wanted to know about what he said, well…
outside this room,
arguing—her voice sings
a half-pitch too high
The problem is honesty—it always is—and what the occasion occasions and what transpires. I want to be proud. Instead, I feel flushed with confusion.
inside this box,
another—another in that—
She asked me. She asked what had been said against her and who spoke on her behalf. I remember she wanted to know, “Who was in the room?” and “Did you defend me?” They were questions I’d been instructed not to answer by people I cared less about. They were questions more likely than anyone in the room acknowledged.
Still, I said nothing. I quailed. Maybe I feared for my job.
in the yard—strutting
inside the wire
When the sun sags toward buildings, I think it’s lazy, exhausted by its relentless, unvarying journey. I know that’s me—I’m tired.
take days—grins unopened,
I said you didn’t know me though I know you did.
at the bottom
a message—a moment’s
A sort of quiet calls for respect. You spoke and waited, watching me form responses from air. You may have known how little could be said, how evidence conspires, how a halting voice says more than words.
awaiting rain, their gray
an extra face
We barely saw each other through dusk, as was proper. The edge of trees lost themselves in night sky.
Consider this: everyone has embarrassment to recall.
two cars both ease
into a crossroad, close
enough to meet eyes
In fifth grade, Mrs. Cullen read my hijacked my note to Linda McClinton aloud. Mrs. Cullen emoted where the text demanded—the moment I said I really liked Linda and didn’t understand why she didn’t like me. The class laughed, especially Linda.
What choice did I have but to laugh too? The moment belonged in a book, the passage underlined.