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

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Carol Pearce-Worthington


heart shapes

during world war II, we practiced air raids. when sirens sounded, we hid in the dark; wardens knocked on doors if any light showed. i was afraid of bombs falling on us. my favorite uncle won a purple heart for getting wounded, and sent me a gold locket from a paris hospital. it had tiny pink sailboats on the outside and room for two heart-shaped pictures inside. the circus came to town during the war; but I hated it when a woman was shot out of a canon and i cried when a boy broke my balloon with his cigarette. before i knew him, my husband was a sailor in the war. he swam in a guam cove until he realized that white blobs in the water were not jellyfish but bodies. once on shore he mistook a dead soldier for a rotting tree until he saw a woman’s photo among the fingers. he was occasionally shot at. blacks weren’t allowed to carry guns then, and he is glad to remember now that he never shot anyone. i cried when i lost the heart locket from my uncle in paris, but someone at school found and returned it to me. people were honest then and thought god was watching them. i still have the locket; wore it when i grew up and married my sailor.

war and a moon rising
we pull down
the shades

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