A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2007, vol 3 no 4

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Stephen Nelson


Coastal Town

Out to the coast. The town of Largs. My parents came here on their honeymoon. They stayed at a guest house run by a Mrs Clarke, a severe old girl by all accounts. I was born a year later.

I make for the shore, crossing pebbles to hear the sea again. Washed up wood and bird feathers. A lonely rock. Lapping waves touch my core, wave after wave, unlocking mysteries. Calm islands in the bay and a bowl of sea water reflecting sunshine. I phone my mother, recently widowed. She is at lunch with an aunt, another tough old bird. Duties amid the grieving.

A ferry rolls between the islands. Bute in hazy light. Dreams of the ocean, on to America, visions of the spinning earth. The vastness.

Away from the shore, a boy in blue overalls paints an ice cream kiosk.

Beach holidays
year by year
the same destination.