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Contents Page: December 31, 2010, vol 6 no 4

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Penny Harter


Driving Home

We flash past a wreck at the road's edge— a motor-home cracked open as it smashed into the guard-rail and fell on its side. Furniture has spilled from its twisted ribs like stuffing—a bed, a dresser, and a table pitched into the weeds. A man and woman sit beneath the roadside trees in lawn chairs, illuminated by the red and white strobes of police cars and the recently arrived ambulance crew.

storage unit—
after your death, I discard
box after box

But this has become history, this story dwindling behind us as the road unwinds through mountains, and night begins to fill it, falling from these hills like skeins of purple silk.

grandmother's shawl—
sunset filters through
the frayed fabric

Earlier on a more local road, we'd slowed to pass six stags in a meadow. Poised like figures in a medieval frieze, they bore full velvet racks on their heads. As we drew abreast of them, they turned to run into the forest beyond, vanishing so quickly that they seemed a dream, sacred stags sent to lead the hunt, and faintly I heard horns on the wind and the distant baying of hounds.

she plucks feathers
from the just-killed hen—
blood in the sink

Behind the man and woman by the road, another woods begins, another dream, and from that woods green branches bend to pull them in so swiftly that they never crashed at all, never sat in canvas chairs beside the ruins of their home at that random intersection with our lives.

milkweed pods— still
spilling seeds into the sky
of my childhood

First published in Modern Haiku & Haibun Prose, #2, Winter, 2009.


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