haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: Contents of American Haibun & Haiga Volume 1

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Kay F. Anderson

Moving Silence

I met him in one of those homes. He was lying straight, bone thin upon a hard narrow institutional bed. He was the father of a friend of mine, and she had asked me to come by and meet him. I didn't know then that she wanted me to "do" his burial service later. To officiate.

I went to visit him, and moved through his silence. Whether he couldn't speak, or simply didn't have the strength, I didn't know. Fortunately I had brought my guitar, so I sang to him. Old songs. Church camp songs. I ended with "I Come to the Garden Alone."

Faded eyes settled soft upon mine, and he began the laborious effort that enabled him to bend his knee a bit. Slowly he slid his heel toward where I sat beside the bed. Slowly that bent knee rose higher, until it rested against my hand upon the bed rail. I said goodbye.

There would be no pastor, no priest, and no religion to comfort him further. Gray clouds broke into rain.

down a brick street
horses pull the hearse
paid mourners follow


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