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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Ray Rasmussen


Another minus 20 day. By the fireplace, I open my retirement gift ― a book of Edwin Curtis photographs. A Blackfoot man and woman wearing striped blankets walk on a prairie grassland ― a place not far from where I live. She’s leading a horse that pulls a travois. He’s walking ahead with a long rifle folded in his arms. The dog in the image is lean, looking as if it could run down an antelope. Several feet of snow have accumulated here ― and there, where they once walked.

My dog's legs are twitching in a dream chase. Awake only long enough to consume a meal and alert only when I dress for a walk, he’s never been able to catch the jackrabbit that huddles under the spruce tree.

Sipping from a mug of rum-laced coffee, I wonder, how long would I survive if I wore only a blanket outside? And what might I bring with me on a long journey were I to have but one horse.

fireplace embers ―
the soft haze
of one too many

mental travois ―
the regrets I drag
on life’s journey


Revision of a haibun previously published in Modern Haibun and Tanka Prose #2.

Ekphrastic haibun based on an Edward Curtis image, "Blackfoot Travois". To see the image, click here: Blackfoot Travois.