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

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Zinovy Vayman

Haibun for Joe Amick

Billerica lake
the snowflakes line
the cracks in dark ice

My boss was at a loss. He either veered to some exotic ion sources or waited for 2-3 weeks and presented my old ideas as his.

By now I had run out of ideas.

We just could not elevate the efficiency of our turquoise solar cells above 9%.

I started to take long lunch times and I vanished into the forest where last year oak leaves all but ceased to generate oxygen or green color.

I skated near the shore but it did not save me. I broke the ice anyway and stood on the bottom. Only knee deep. I held a thin piece of ice and looked through it at the small sun.

When I came back to the lab there was big news. My boss got a new boss and thus was distanced from the president of the company, a former marine with go-getter manners.

The new supervisor, Joe Amick, looked like a distinguished golf player and his hair was all silver. In his first memo he called for technology revamp and started a chain of long meetings and business trips. My boss went to Phoenix. I was not sent anywhere and I decided to go on a short vacation to Spain. Just for one week.

I won't tell you how my companion forgot her car on her hometown street and was ticketed every day. I won't tell you how we were attacked by the hotel manager and saved by the Gypsies and I won't tell you about Toledo.

the Cordova sun
unceasing shade by the mosque
turned into cathedral

I went to the Polytechnic University in Madrid and noticed that the Spaniards coated the backs of their pale blue solar cells with some white stuff.

Upon my return to the Billerica facility I grabbed our slender cells and painted them with a white-out correction fluid from my desk. When I ran the cells through the tester my elation bordered insanity.

From the average 9% they climbed above the coveted 10%.

My boss was speechless but Joe Amick wrote a celebratory

We will have a tryst
With a silicon cryst
All aluminum backs
Will come-no cracks
With long-nose pliers
We'll splice our wires
If we fail all the tries
We'll hire some spies.

I felt enamored with Joe Amick even more and I composed for him:

How joyous to hear
The verses with rhymes
We all got transported
To good old times
We'll find, oh, we'll find
Silver-silicon link
We'll write, oh, we'll write
For the sun with the ink.

This metallic paste ink was a huge problem. We silk-screened it on the wavy silicon surface with a variable degree of success.

My boss begged me "to be a good soldier". But I was trained as a tank commander.

I earned a rank of lieutenant. And my boss never served in the military, though his reports were written masterfully and he always ran when called by his superiors.

ample sunshine...
an elite pentathlete
on my car's TV

Nothing illuminated the path ahead to 11%. I became a recluse again. In those woods growing above the stonewalls of the vanished New England farms.

total stillness
pine tree resin
sun-hardens as amber


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