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

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Richard Straw


Holy Week

"Well for you, if you keep an eye on your death-bed all the time, and put yourself in the right dispositions for death as each day passes. Perhaps, before now, you've seen a man die? Remember, then, that you have got the same road to travel." -- Thomas à Kempis

Between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m. on the Monday after Palm Sunday, the hospice nurse phones our aunt's home, telling us we should drive in as soon as possible.

Dad's breathing is slower, more labored, but not painfully drawn because of the morphine.

My sister, her husband, and I sit in a half circle by mom's chair and talk with her about grandchildren.

At 6:25 a.m., the same time, mom remembers later, that dad used to lace up and tie his boots at the bottom of the stairs before leaving for work at the factory all those years, he exhales his last long breath.

into his silence
the sound of waking birds
from a window