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

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Mark Smith

Bones of the Rainbow

The time my friend cut the caught trout from tail to head I was in my teens, sturdy yet uncertain. And I still remember what he said, "Told you not to watch, told you." Him knowing my delicate awe in the presence of breathing flesh. But for him, boy brought up on knives, Vietnam, quick burying and leaving were in his blood. He always asked why I came, why I took part in yanking snags, neck-breakings red. My answer always calm, unchanged, "I need to see." Never telling him of my haunting dead, their voices even then heard from bones of the rainbow exposed, scrapes of scale, near rushing water in late autumn chill barely light.

distant thunder
shattered crayfish claw
on a rock