A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2006, vol 2 no 1

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Martin Gottlieb Cohen


The night air is wet and still. The scent of pine trees settles in the leaves near the cabin. My mother takes us children to visit my aunt on Halloween. We enter the darkened room, and on the table is a hollowed-out pumpkin with a lit candle in it. Tobacco smoke passes over the pumpkin's cut-off top and the smoke's shape changes as it rises to the ceiling beams. Light comes out of holes carved for eyes and a big grin from the dark pumpkin. The scene reminds me of a room lit by a prayer candle, a glass half-full of wax with a lit wick that projects its flickering light on the walls. My father had sat on a small wood bench fasting and praying for his father who had died during the night. I walk across the room and see a picture of my father as a child.

Jack O'Lantern
shadows pass through
each other

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