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

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Jeff Winke

"No" Without Hesitation

The trilobite fossil sits on a clean oak shelf in his bedroom. Collected as a kid along a suburban railroad track when searching for the flattened penny after the 64-car train had passed over it. The smeared penny got kicked out into the limestone gravel, which is where the fossilized relief impression of the 600 million year old creature was found. It's not the best specimen ever discovered, but for him it's significant. Many hours have been spent imagining what its life was like before getting lodged in Cambrian mud, which became limestone and was eventually mined for slabs and gravel. Was it a good-looking trilobite? Did it have friends? How long did it live? Dozens of questions were asked, but never answered. In a sense, the trilobite was his friend and confidant. A very old friend that no one knows about. If ever asked if he has or ever had an imaginary friend, he'd respond "no" without hesitation. The trilobite does have mass and form afterall. It's every bit as good as a dog, cat or turtle— none of which he has ever owned.

worn gold leaf
the meticulously clean
makeup case

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