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

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Minute of Silence

Victory Day in our family coincides with mother's birthday. Friends and relatives gather in our home for the holiday dinner. After several toasts at the table, the Minute of Silence is announced on the TV. My father always stands up, and keeps standing the whole time with a mourning and suffering expression on his face. He is a little bit unstable after some vodka, his eyes are wet. Does he think about his seven years in the Army? About his friends? In November 1943, he was about to turn 17 when the village horse harnessed to "telega" (a cart), took him and other boys away from home, to the war.

He is the only one standing, and we all remain sitting quietly. I can't explain to myself why I didn't stand up at the time. Now, when father is gone, I always spend the Minute of Silence standing.

distant thunder–
sparks from the fireworks fly
into May river