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

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Dustin Neal


the school bus came to a complete stop, my dog meeting me halfway up the driveway. i didn't have time to show her any attention, i ran the rest of the length of the driveway. i didn't aim but i tossed my book bag at the front door as if it were a target of some sort. i did what i didn't care to do, but this time i didn't mind. i put on those dirty work shoes, didn't even care to tie them, too cold for that. i could already hear the swine, hear my shoes flopping beneath me, hear the wind softly whispering something awful. gossip. i ignored such cold talk.

the rusted shovel struck the cement, my heel struck the hog's snout, the smell of urine struck my nose, his cold hand struck my shoulder. i didn't even hear the gate open, never even heard my grandfather approach, his face as pale as a motherless boy. i didn't have to ask, he didn't have to tell, his eyes broke the news.

the piney woods—
a quilt of dead straw
warms her headstone

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