haibun

| Current Issue | About CHO | Editorial Staff & Guidelines | Submissions | Articles | Archives | Search |
July 2017, vol 13 no 2

| Contents This Issue | Next Haibun |


Michael Dylan Welch

Rhythmic Breathing

dense morning fog
           paddles dripping, we drift
           among loon calls

The canoe bumps a half-submerged log and she turns to glance at me. Gently I toss her the water bottle, and she slowly unscrews the top, tips it back, and swallows till drips run from her chin. I do a j-stroke on the right side of the canoe, and suddenly a bird we don’t see disappears under the surface in the duckweed at the bend. A red-winged blackbird sways on a cattail stalk, then rushes away as our boat drifts closer. She lowers the bottle, wipes her chin with the back of her hand, and reaches to steady her paddle lying across the bow. The fog seems to thicken and I wonder if we will see the bird come up from the shallows. I swing my paddle out of the water, a trailing weed drips in front of my knees, and I sink the paddle into the current, stroking on the left side.

morning bird song –
my paddle slips
into its reflection

Soon we are both paddling again and, as our ripples reach the shore reeds, it seems the fog has thinned. Our palms are sore (“I think I’m getting a small blister,” she said an hour ago), but we paddle firmly and in unison. The portage at the falls lies a mile ahead where we’ll pull out for a lunch of apples and watercress sandwiches.

our rhythmic breathing –
between lily pads
a motionless trout


Note: The middle poem was previously published in Modern Haiku 24:1, 1993.


logo