haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 4

[Return to Author List, Vol 4]

Linda Jeanette Ward

 

Competency

The mental health clinic that serves this small community still relies on the charity of its populace to provide needed space for the occasional evaluation I’m asked to do: In an 1890s church cradled in a curve of live oaks even older we sit in a borrowed room, a scarred card table between us. The court report says she’s become paranoid, phoning up deputies into the night with tales of prowlers that never materialize . . . but I wonder—isn’t her four-room ramshackle dwelling a remnant of time before development crowded in? I know the place, seen it squeezed in over the years by McDonald’s, gas stations, quick stop shops; and groups of bored teens might find it thrilling to spook the old black lady. Her hand-lettered No Trespassing sign sits slantwise by the front door, and she can sometimes be seen from the buzzing highway that was an unpaved road in her youth. Now, in this place where hymns still drift through Sunday windows, I’m asked by the court to judge her competency . . .

octogenarian’s hand
crossing paper
pauses to touch mine . . .
a spring breeze whispers
through Spanish moss

[Return to Author List, Vol 4 ]

 


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