A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2008, vol 4 no 3

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Andrew Shimield

Focal Point

The physics master brought in a tray covered with a cloth which he took off to reveal to the class twelve bulls' eyes. They looked like giant vol-au-vents with blood and flesh pastry and a dark shiny filling. In pairs we took one to our place at the work bench and with craft knives and bloody fingers we slashed and pulled at it to release the slippery pearl of the lens. We fixed this to a metal clamp and shone a thin strip of light through it, watching how the light bent and measured the focal point.

Though night still lingered in the hollows, the dawn made everything seem rimmed with light. As the rising sun hit the church, its main window lit up like a golden flower. I went inside; multi-coloured rays streamed through the dust motes hanging in the air and made an avenue of light across the dull stone floor. I stood in its path, holding handfuls of light. The warmth of the sun spread through me like the warmth of a malt whiskey, making me feel for a moment as big as the world on which it shone. I turned to leave, walking quietly, as if there were something I might disturb.

the imprint
of knees
on dusty hassocks

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