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

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Adelaide Shaw

A Dream Visit

Once more I'm going home to the street of my childhood. The trolley taking me is going too fast, and I'm afraid I'll miss my stop. I'm afraid I won't remember it. Shops along the route are not the same. I feel
lost, anxious. I pull the cord.

I've reached my street, and it is as it used to be. The ice house on one corner; a candy and tobacco shop on the other. It is a working man's street, one and two family houses on one side and factories on the other.

It is summer. I inhale a miasma of odors, the strongest from the Goodyear plant.

12 o'clock—
in the shade, the clanging
of lunch buckets

On this visit, I am an adult and married. I know this, although my husband isn't with me. I am an age I can't determine. Thirties, forties? Maybe older. I live at number 42 on the second floor, above my grandparents. They are still there, and it makes perfect sense. I climb the front stairs to the second floor.

the afternoon sun
through the stained glass window—
climbing a rainbow

The flat is not large, yet we live here, my parents and I, my sister, my husband. My father sleeps heavily. He had died. Or so I had thought, and I wonder where he's been. My mother indicates the need to be quiet.

Moving slowly and softly I prepare food. My mother and I together. Roast chicken, pasta. Large platters of food never to be eaten. They dissolve. My parents dissolve. For a short time—minutes, seconds perhaps—I see and feel the inexplicable reality of the unreal, and I am grateful for this brief meeting.

mourning doves call—
in dreams, neither hello
nor goodbye


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