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Volume 33.2
Summer 2002

sample haibun



into the clearing

I own these woods: they are mine. I have a piece of paper that says so. But whose woods are they, really? Some would say they can belong only to God . . . or to no one at all.

Perhaps these woods rightfully beong to the original inhabitants of the land, disenfranchised though they may be; or maybe to the creatures that live here now: the deer and the foxes, the chipmunks and squirrels and birds.

I have a piece of paper that says I own these glorious woods that encircle my home. But how can any one of us own anything that cradles a crystal-clear blue sky atop swaying pines and graceful autumn-bare branches?

new house:
a groundhog meanders
into the clearing

Cathy Drinkwater Better

In the Library

Banks of computers take up most of the open area under the glass dome. Everywhere are bright shelves with movies, discs, video games. on the other side of the metal-detector, a sale rack of used books and magazines.

with a broken spine
paperback romance

A fat girl with green hair screams at her friend in line at the desk:
     —What the hell are you doing here?
     —I'm just returning these overdue books from last Christmas.
     —Are you still going with what's-his-face? Bummer. Well, I'm outta here. This place gives me the creeps. I need a cigarette. I smoke two packs a day, my mother would kill me.

library entrance
old man
forgets why he's there

Ruth Holzer

Herat, 1977

I forgive the thief who broke into our room at the Bezhad and stole our duffel bag. I forgive him because time has passed and I am still alive and he most likely is not. We were inexperienced travelers then and had padlocked all our valuables in that bag: cameras, Nikon lenses, binoculars, and medications. Soon after the robbery I came down with dysentery. I lay on my bunk covered with a torn blanket, rising only to drag myself to the filthy toilet down the hall. My temperature climbed to 104 degrees. I cursed the man who had stolen our antibiotics. For three days I fasted and hallucinated, and thought about where I would be buried. But on October 10th, my thirtieth birthday, the fever broke. Rising from my sickbed I walked to the verandah and raised my hands to the sky. The sun was shining. The next day we would head overland across the desert to Mazar-e-Sharif.

Muslim call to worship
the jingle of horse carts
dust settles

Margaret Chula





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