haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 2

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

Alice Frampton

 

Cheeky

It’s the last boys’ soccer game of the season. Standing in mud, ankle deep, along a sideline where half the student body has littered the ground with lunchings and sports tape, I meet with other parents to cheer on our high school’s team. Since it’s the beginning of November in British Columbia, my arms are loaded down with an umbrella, scarf, hat, gloves, and a warm blanket. I also carry a sack chair over my shoulder and an insulated coffee mug in one hand. Having three sons, all of whom play soccer, I’m a pro spectator.

a few stray drops—
seagulls position themselves
for the outcome

My son is on the field stretching his hamstrings before the opening kickoff. He doesn’t want to be reminded that I’m around, but I catch him looking for me all the same. I set up my chair, close enough to see all, and settle in. Some parents pace, but after many seasons, I’ve relaxed into the role.

half-time grins
appearance of the sun
in the oranges

It’s a well played game, with few abuses flung at the referee or between members of the opposing sides. When the final whistle sounds the score is tied one to one. I start to squirm at the prospect of two 10-minute overtimes and a shootout. With the extension, tempers flare and everyone braces for the worst.

on the field
best laid plans—
no restrooms

Through it all we finally win and head to the parking lot where our team bus waits. To avoid any confrontations, the parents and coaches gather alongside while the boys pile in. Then, as our players’ bus pulls away, a bare moon appears in a back window. Not recognizing the perpetrator from this angle, we all head home with the idea of finding out if the offence was committed by our own progeny. I eventually learn, through the grapevine, that one particular fellow feels he has a nice “hiney” and is the culprit nine times out of ten. This relieves my mind . . . somewhat.

breeze through bare vines—
from the crowd
a stage whisper

On overhearing my son telling a group of his friends how, when the mooner was himself mooned, he thought it was the grossest thing he’d ever seen, I had high hopes maturity might prevail. But a few years later . . .

after the game
the whole pack howling
at the moon

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

 


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