A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2005, vol 1 no 1

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Martin Gottlieb Cohen, USA

The First Day

The first day at summer camp, a few counselors took the children to the lake for swimming. I didn't know how to swim and so I watched from the deck. I didn't like the idea of living things in the water. One boy overheard me tell the counselor that I couldn't swim and told me that there were rats as big as dogs that could swim in the lake. A little later, another boy screamed snake while he was wading near the shore. A counselor ran over and discovered that someone had relieved themselves. I was repulsed. I started to walk away from the crowd and along the shore and noticed something on the lake. I looked more closely and realized it was an insect standing on the undisturbed lake's surface. I was in awe of it. At first, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Then it lifted one leg and placed it on the surface again.

the mountain top dimples under the strider's leg

The counselor approached me and asked if I would like to go row boating. I told her that I didn't know how and she said she would row. I agreed and we went to the deck where the boat lies. The wind grew stronger in the late afternoon breaking up the sun's reflection into choppy bits of light. We shoved off from the deck, and I heard the rush of water then a pause. The lifted oars would rub against the fittings as she pushed forward in the wind. We came closer to a strange looking boulder with what looked like as pock marks all over its surface. She told me it was once a volcano a long time ago.

Volcanic rock
the wind across the lake

The sun dipped below the silhouetted forest. The wind faded with the light and we headed back to the landing. As we lifted ourselves onto the deck, something on the water passed by.

A leaf in and out of twilight


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