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

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Jeannine Hall Gailey


In the Month of Quail

The shoes I am wearing bruise the top of my feet. On our trail there are rabbits and waxwings, a heron in the stream, exotic loud swans. Stomping through the grass I discover my quail, now he's become six–the father and mother, four crownless children. Why had he been calling at my window? Was he calling for her, his mate, his children? Isolated from family, solitary, a state foreign to quail? Quail stand for togetherness in dreams, because, as you see, they hoot to each other, they shake together as one covey, they wander up through the thicket, calling out in the blackberries.

He stands guard,
proudly. They are round
like little fall fruits.

Where will these quail lead me? Already the dusk is following, the swallows are becoming bats in the August darkness. Beware of sitting alone in your little house, he tells me from the thorny branches, beware of listening too long to the calls of tear-shaped birds, using them for guidance.