A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2007, vol 3 no 1

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Adelaide B. Shaw


My father, in a green plaid vest, moves slowly in my dream. I take it as natural that he has come back, that he didn't die, but wonder where he has been. Why has he waited so long to appear? His image is unfocused and slightly faded. And young. The young man of his early photos.

I call him Dad and get him coffee and worry about where he will sleep, all the beds in the old house of my childhood now occupied by myself, my husband and children.

The dream skips decades. Now he is very old, lying in one of the beds, covered with a single sheet. Tired, so tired. He sleeps most of the day. I tip-toe through the house, looking for food, looking for a dress to wear, looking for an explanation of life, an explanation of death.

the long winter night–
a raccoon's sharp cry
just before dawn