A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2009, vol 5 no 2

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Johannes Manjrekar



My childhood friend and I are sipping cane juice and hoping for a bit of breeze. It’s been a searingly hot day. The stone of the bench is still hot, and a shroud of dust stirred up by the evening traffic hangs in the air.

“Sometimes I feel old,” says my friend.

“It’s the bench,” I reply, but nod me-too in agreement.

A truck packed with soldiers in their camouflage fatigues drives by in a cloud of dust.

“All those young people trained to kill other young people who’ve been declared enemies,” I comment.

“Sometimes I think we’re just a bunch of wolf packs that have become too smart for their own good,” says my friend.

“Sometimes I think it’s time you found a nice quiet place in the hills,” I reply, voicing a secret dream of my own.

“Sometimes I think you really believe what you say,” says my friend.

“Most times I do. It’s the other times that are so hard.”

“Ah, those Sometimes. Maybe they’re actually there all the time.”

“Maybe. Sometimes I think that on a hot day cold beer is better than cane juice.”

“No, but really. Sometimes I do feel old these days.”

“It’s the heat,” I say without conviction.

A truck rumbles by —
the smell of jasmine
mingles with the dust

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