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

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Kilmeny Niland

Deceased Estate

The house has attitude. You can tell by the indolent lean of the verandah posts. Some rooftiles are missing. A checkered grin. Five chimney pots but only one unbroken. Giving the finger. A window jammed open. As if to make curfew, wild jasmine struggles over the sill. A curtain of holes to satisfy the nosiest.

on the green lace
a pattern of bees

Inside—the plain bedroom. A bed and chair. A small china dish with curly writing—Bits & Pieces—holds a cufflink and a rubber band. A crucifix hangs on the wall. A head-shaped depression still on the pillow. Depression.

head bowed
he calls to his children
come unto me

At the back of the house is the sunroom. Broken blinds. Splinters of light splay on the grimy walls. Spectacles glare from a dark corner. Unblinking. Papers piled in messy cairns. Two wicker chairs back to back. Nothing to say. Near the window is a birdcage. On the bottom lies a small green parrot, streaked with dust.

same old song
even a stuffed parrot
knows the refrain


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