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Contents Page: July, 2010, vol 6 no 2

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Peter Butler

A Piece of Shrapnel

This is the blind bend where our goalie nearly got run over during kick‑about. A rare car those days. And the house opposite where a dog got killed. The bomb aimer missed the chimney, left the rubble sloping like a broken coat hanger. We hopscotched in brick dust. I pocketed a forbidden piece of shrapnel.

a strange quietness
the ambulance
parked in the street

It's where a man came back from Dunkirk without his writing arm, another swallowed his teeth to dodge call‑up, Alan tile Cripple gave everyone a lop‑sided grin and his mother never looked anyone in the eye. It's where we listened for Miss O'Cleary, with her Bible and tin leg, clattering the comer to straighten our surplices.

This morning, I pause at the lights, cross to our old home with its peeling frames and fussy borders, avoid three idling by an empty car, hand some change to a man with a tie, skirt the corner past a take‑away to the pitch where our goalie lost his touch due to hard drink and weak ventricles, still fingering the piece of shrapnel, grown smooth and friendlier through the years.

at the war memorial
freshly sprayed
jude x ron



Published in The Unseen Wind: British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology 2009, Lynne Rees and Jo Pacsoo (Editors), British Haiku Society.

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