A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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Contents Page: March, 2010, vol 6 no 1


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Cynthia Rowe

Late Again

We are having chicken tonight. The order has gone out for my brother to kill one of his brood. My father won’t be back from his surgery until late. That’s how it is, most nights. My brother, de-facto dad, man of the house while still a schoolboy, sighs and heads for the chook pen.

My eyes go huge from the moment he swings the axe. The hen leaps headless from the chopping block. Inside, Mother pulls down the blind, turns up the radio to drown out the sound of ominous flapping. I stand my ground while the bird, blood pulsing from its neck, goes round and round in diminishing circles...

iceberg roses –
red spots
on the grass

As we busily pluck feathers, the phone rings. I can tell the conversation is tense. I know that, once more, my father will be absent from the dinner table.

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