haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2005, vol 1 no 3

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Colette Jonopulos

 

Returning

Moments before dusk, I drive through dense fog, take the "slow to 45 MPH" curve at 35 MPH, then descend into clarity: Ashland's hills on fire with electrified stars; cars quickening alongside like silver panthers.

autumn moon
lowers itself to rest
on mountain rim

North of Ashland, I discover cheap gas and Barnes & Noble. Inside, Bing Crosby's already singing about his white Christmas; massive rolls of holiday wrap boast menorahs and miniature reindeer. Two old men sit in cushioned chairs; one reads Proust, his purpled lips trembling. His companion leans forward; their knees meet.

There are friends in the poetry isle; I smile at Lucille Clifton's sparse lines, Billy Collins' wit. They turn gently between my palms, look up at me with black unblinking eyes. Out the window, the night sky deepens. I place Lucille and Billy on the shelf; leave them to do whatever poets do when left alone in the row of C.

chicken and noodles--
he remembers to set
one less plate

My car returns me to the black ribbon leading home away from home trucks and wind trucks and wind windshield wipers trucks moved between blurred lanes by the long-held breath of weary highway gods.

elephant footsteps:
hard rain falls
on convertible roof

At the turn-off for 126, wet asphalt leads slightly south or northward; there is a decision to be made. I veer right before looping south, lean into it, the steering wheel's circumference, the only guide I'm given.

flannel sheets
soft enough to hold
my sigh

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