Like many writers, I dabble in writing poetry, and like many writers, that’s as far as it goes. But when I found out about Haibun, I fell in love with the combination of short prose combined with a haiku.
Any Morning in Early Spring
Published in the Fall 2018 edition of 3Elements Review (www.3elementsreview.com), under the pen name L Greenway.
I walk on oak leaves printed on concrete, the stain all that remains of the fall before this spring, of months of rain. It’s raining now. Here, in this place bound by mountains, nothing escapes out from the edges. Sound bounces off the low cloud and the streets and is captured under the umbrella: drumming on taut fabric, tires on wet pavement, the swish-thump of wipers, the gasp of airbrakes in descent. There’s the smell of oil splashed pavement, diesel, splattered earth, wet grass. Under the canopy of the bus stop I join company with cigarette butts and the restless leaves of day-old newspapers. Above, on the clear sloped roof, the rain drops pool and run down, casting ever moving shadows in the dawn. I shake my umbrella and become rain on paper and on the memory of leaves, on the concrete made stained glass, colored in greys.
with the quick passing
bus, tracks vanish in the rain:
gone, but so am I
The Otherwise Silence of Snow
I’m awakened to the sound of snowplows scraping streets and a familiar silence, that otherwise silence of snow. Here in this city on the coast, winter means rain, and when the clouds lift from over the mountains, it’s most often to a wash of trees become green again. Warm air comes in from the ocean in gray sheets, capping the tops of buildings, pushing on the mountains behind. Even when it’s not raining you can live days in cloud, with the kind of rain seen only from the corner of your eye.
Still, there are times when the clouds lift to show the snow line has fallen to the high suburbs. Walking to the shops, I see cars capped with snow; there’s brushed-off clumps of snow on the curbs. The air tastes different, like rain made impossibly cold and wrapped with the scent of frost on windshields. On the walk back home, the clouds move in, fall all around me again, and it begins to snow, fat flakes melting to slush on the city streets. But the night, the night is a breath held close, the morning waiting.
glow of a streetlight
on a wall of shadows, fall
silent ghosts of snow
While the refrigerator emulates a typical Pacific Northwest spring, the freezer slips to what passes for winter here, where we both hope for and dread the snow and mostly get rain. There are bubbling sounds, grinding, humming; there is silence. I press the control buttons in odd combinations, any of which may have worked in the past. Something had worked, this isn’t the first change in climate. Nothing works now.
To the rattling of small bottles, I shimmy the heavy box out from the wall to unplug it for a cold reboot. One reboot fails and a second and a third. I give each three minutes, six times what a laptop needs, just because a refrigerator is big, you know. The next day, the repairman says to wait thirty minutes. We don’t wait. The frost pattern on the evaporator coil is judge, jury, and executioner in the repair-replace decision.
In the freezer, I discover barely still-frozen freezer-dried tomato slices, a bag of suet in seasonal transit, tubs of soup without labels, a single roast beet, now bleeding. From the fridge, I eat the eggs and cheese, but the mayonnaise goes, the Caesar and ranch dressings go; the lettuce, the carrots, the green onions are already gone. Those rattling jars, though, are corralled in a plastic tub: ketchup and soy sauce, fish sauce and mustard, sesame oil.
searching faded best-by dates
asking, what’s safe now?
Are we there yet?
Here-to-there describes my childhood. Repeat. Ten hours driving from Vancouver to Calgary where my grandparents lived, a few days there, then another ten hours back. Seriously. With three kids under ten in the back seat and entertainment limited to comic books, eye-spy, punch bug, fidgeting, escalating elbow pokes, kicking at the back of the front seat, threats. In this stretched out horizontally populated country, there’s a limited choice of highways east and west, and regardless of choice, all have the same truck stop towns, the same places for coffee, for ice cream, for lunch. The same winding roads, and I swear, the same trucks trailing the same dusty cars behind them like frustration is freight. The same weaving in and out when the double lines disappear, then the all-too-brief moment when the horizon becomes a passing lane. The same predictable dusty gravel shoulder stops, the you-should-have-gone-when-we-were-someplace-else stops.
at last, journey’s end
we blink miles from our eyes
too stiff to hug back
Where to Purchase
The first three books in the Eye of the Ocean series will be available late August on Amazon. To get a reminder of the launch date, join my email list. Preorders on the fourth book will also be available at that time.
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