haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2009, vol 5 no 1

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Renee Owen



Love Happens

I coast into the gas station, kill the engine, grope for my wallet. A black SUV squeals to a halt inches from my front bumper. At the blast of its horn, I squint into the bright autumn sun. A woman sticks her head out the window, jabs at the air and shouts, her words unintelligible, voice thick with rage. I turn to see who she's yelling at, but the station is deserted. She shouts again, gestures more emphatic. I back my car up to the next pump, hurry to get away from her.

after first fall rains
sunlight glints
off the termite wings

At the swipe of my credit card, the machine asks, "Credit or ATM? Zip code?" The woman bangs on her steering wheel, yells louder. I punch in my zip code again. Her car door slams. She rushes towards me, wild hair streaming in her wake, face full of fury. Wind rifles her brightly colored blouse, long skirt, and multiple scarves. I step back, put the gas nozzle and hose between my body and hers, press the gas lever. The machine beeps, then asks again, "Zip code?"

the pumpkinless house
a flock of crows scavenge
the front lawn

She huffs back to her hulking SUV, revs the engine. I brace myself, expecting her to bash my car. She veers past with a heated glare, gasses up at the pump behind me, then screeches out of the station. I enter my zip code for what seems like the tenth time.

the enraged driver's
bumper sticker—
Love Happens, Blessed Be

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