haibun
A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2009, vol 5 no 3

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Patricia Prime

 

Paper Boats

slowly the plaza
fills with tourists
speaking
in a dozen tongues
I can’t understand

Strolling down the street beneath the sweltering summer sun, we look at the art on display. There are works for sale, artists painting glowing colours on the pavement with chalk, or decorating children’s faces with butterflies and flowers, Batman and Spiderman. Our imaginations dance as we sip lemon and lime in a courtyard café. People of every colour and ethnicity, gaily dressed, some almost undressed, bronze satin skin smooth as ripe peach, wander the streets and shops.

Children dart around our legs laughing. Tourists, eyes wandering over the art, hesitate and bargain. The street shimmers in the play of light, the shade here harshly yellow, there brightly silver, green foliage glistening. I buy a pencil sketch by a local artist, “Paper Boats,” and my friend chooses a sculpture called “Queen of Sheba.” We sit beneath a striped sunshade to watch the passing festivities.

we meet a friend
wearing a caftan
and sandals
her red hair streams
into the sunshine

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