A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2005, vol 1 no 2

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Elizabeth Howard


Early morning, I drive two hours to an estate lawyer's office. We discuss Mother's property and finances, property her grandparents bought before the depression, divided, subdivided, investments she made without my knowledge, her memory now shaky.

capital gains
the lawyer stops scribbling
chews the pencil nub

I spend the afternoon with Mother at the doctor's office. We wait two hours before the tests begin, a physical barrage, a confusion of memory, new prescriptions, recommendations for tests she refuses.

we head to the car
steps faltering

On the two-hour drive home, I stop at a farmer's roadside stand by a lazy river to stretch my legs. I chat with the farmer's wife about crops and weather. The scent of river loam makes me homesick for the bottomland I've spent the morning discussing with the lawyer, the land I have to sell. I buy a basket of huckleberries, anticipate a bowl of huckleberries and cream for supper.

barefoot, in my shimmy
I settle on the porch
with my sweet blue bowl


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