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April 1, 2012 vol 8 no 1

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Dan Hardison


Baxter

My wife's best friend had been battling cancer for several years when Baxter came into her life. She wanted a dog as a companion and Baxter was a gentle, quiet, loving dog that was playful, but also content just to be by your side and petted.

When her cancer took a turn for the worse and she became weaker, my wife would walk Baxter during her daily visits with her friend. Whenever her friend had to be in the hospital, Baxter would stay with us. At last, the doctor said there was nothing more he could do. During a visit with my wife, her friend said she could no longer care for Baxter and asked if we would keep him and give him a home.

dark clouds rolling in
and distant thunder rumbling . . .
I should have noticed

Three weeks after Baxter came to stay, my wife's father unexpectedly entered the hospital. We immediately left for the ten-hour drive with Baxter accompanying us. Over the next two weeks, we stayed in motels and the home of family. Everywhere we went, Baxter went – never a problem, always on good behavior, taking it all in stride. But, my wife's father passed away – cancer.

After returning home, we found that my wife's friend was now bedridden. They were able to spend one last good visit together filled with friendly conversation as they once had enjoyed. A few days later, she too was gone. Baxter is still with us and it is here he will stay.

time to sit awhile,
to breathe the fresh-scented air,
to daydream, to doze,
and perhaps a quiet walk
at this home away from home




crane