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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Liz Fenn

Late One Summer Afternoon

It was a long walk home from a friend's, and so I stopped to rest for a few moments at a roadside stream. A little girl was there, in a crisp pretty pink dress, her large brown eyes focused on the hundreds of minnows her dad was pulling up in each lift of a metal basket.

"Hi. What's your name?" I asked. In a sweet low voice she answered "Onie." Her dad added: "I named her after my mother. She died when I was four."

"Oh, I'm sorry," I said. 'We all carry some sorrow in our lives, huh?"

"Yeah . . . I'm an ex-murderer from North California too, ya know . . ."

I looked above the man's heavily tattooed arms and chest and into his dark-tanned face. "Well," I said, "you've got a good life here now--so many minnows!"

"Yeah. I raise 'em and sell em to the bait shops along the lake. Got a cellar fulla snakes, too--for pet shops in the city."

I smiled. "Great," I said. Then, Onie and I quietly watched as her dad pulled up several more hauls. Soon after, I murmured, "Well I've gotta get going . . . bye." The man nodded, and the little girl waved me on, as far as our eyes could see . . .

three vehicles
circumvent a turtle
crossing the road

 


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