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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Gary LeBel


The Edge of House Lights

The business of the long day has settled; homework’s started; the clang of the dishes, too, has quieted as the sun divides its embers among the dark boughs of sumac and pine.

to the world as it is
the morning glory has closed
its white petals

Our family dog and I take a walk. Adopted last spring and by then already four, what he steals in disobedience he more than replaces with affection. The devotion of dogs and families has no exact parallel, and over time, feelings learn to slip wordlessly between long floppy ears and the palms of our hands. I’ve come to relish these nightly walks.

how their laughter trickles
into autumn twilight

About half way along our return loop, he halts abruptly, watching over the darkening field like a statue until a burst of whiteness, strangely disembodied as if exploding out of nothing, rivets us both to its movement. Straining to focus, I can see the brown hide of an adult deer just preparing to leap over the pasture fence. Then with a powerful vault of remarkable lightness and grace, it clears the fence as effortlessly as a bird.

We resume our walk until I notice a stirring in the field again, and drawing closer, I find there is a second deer, much smaller and thin, which is trying to follow the other but cannot quite make the jump. We stop a safe distance away so as not to make its task any more difficult.

After two more attempts fail, the young deer pauses. Into the muscles of its spindly legs it drives its courage, for it runs back nearly three times as far to gain a longer running start. Almost soundlessly and with a long arching stride, it joins the other across the road, the two white lanterns vanishing together into the moonless dark

the night fields
a stillness made rounder
without crickets

Advancing deeper into the woods, their footsteps soon become slow and leisurely, now free of headlights (and men and dogs). In the night’s windless quiet, the leaves beneath their hooves mark their increasing distance with a crisp, brittle sharpness, and I listen until a cold silence erases them altogether.

on the edge of houselights
another world is dawning
in the scent of wet leaves

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]


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