A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2006, vol 2 no 3

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Graham High

Holding Tanks

"I lost forty thousand turtles on the day of the Tsunami" he tells me. I look around and see that the conservation tanks, with concrete walls ten inches thick, are all smashed up. His new holding tanks are made of wood and polythene.

"Each egg cost me five cents. I buy from the fishermen. Otherwise they get sold to restaurants or get destroyed. If I keep them for three days one in twenty can survive. On the beach less than one in a thousand will live."

His shifts his weight from one bare foot to another and his brown eyes are full of energy. He has few teeth and his hair is unusually long for a Singhalese.

"And what were you doing when the Tsunami came?" I ask him.

"I was running" he says.

I buy a T-shirt, and then turn towards the renovated fish restaurant next door. "Would you like to join me?" I say, as an afterthought.

eyes wide open
the red snapper on ice
out-stares the sun