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

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Steve Sanfield, USA

Remembering Rene DeLott

We'd gone to the movies and had coffee afterwards. We sat in the back seat of my '57 Chevy hardtop parked in front of her house. The car was running, the heater on. We were necking, kissing and moving our hands over each other's heavily clothed bodies. It was clumsy at best. We took a mutually agreed break and smoked a Chesterfield.

You're really mercurial, you know that? she said. Having no idea what she was talking about I remained silent. You don't know what it means, do you? she asked. She was right. I didn't. I said nothing. She stepped from the car, leaned back in and said, Well, you'd better look it up. Then she was gone up the stairs and into her house.

I went home and found mercurial in the dictionary. I wasn't sure if having the qualities of Mercury was meant as praise or criticism, but I was more determined than ever to touch her flesh. There were more words, always more words: empathize, ambivalent, villatic, all of which long ago became part of my vocabulary. Actually the words Rene DeLott introduced me to remain some of my favorites.

I never did touch her flesh. We never had sex. I never, in the parlance (another Rene'word) of the day, even got to feel her up. Now almost half a century later, I'm still ambivalent about the entire matter.

a somersault of memory
brings her close
--the freezing rain



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