I’m delighted to have two haibun and another short piece in the Summer 2018 Showcase at The Zen Space. Many thanks to editor Marie Marshall for taking these pieces.
He thought much of these disembodied hands, pictured them moving to the light of the burnished lantern, weaving patterns intricate as those in the most delicate hummingbird nest, textures and shades of light with traces of webs and soft fibers of unknown origin, making knots of shadows and their companions.
It was not that they were so very much like his; they were hands of another sort, hands that touched nothing held by another, hands that knew no lips or wooden hearts or curves in a quiet moment, hands that knew only themselves in the community of unnatural hands.
waking to the rain
he hears a far-off whistle
oh, the neighbor’s tea!
* * *
“Community of Hands” first appeared here in April 2017.
Waiting, I open myself but nothing enters. Even music’s comfort avoids me, preferring calmer ports or perhaps another’s wind choices. I drop the weighted cord through the flute, pull it, and watch the cloth ease out. Some days pain drags behind me no matter what words emerge, what phrases follow. Last night brought the season’s first fireflies. This wall of books grows taller each day.
exhaling, I note
smudges in the sky —
oh, dirty window
The creek’s waters flow so quickly that I make little headway in my attempt to cross. A water moccasin slips by, and my left boot takes on water. This is not real, I say. We’ve had no rain and I would not be so foolish as to do this. Asleep? Perhaps, but I’ve passed the halfway point and have no choice but to move forward. I slip and nearly pitch headfirst into the dark current. Lightning stitches the sky.
dreaming, the snake
swims against floodwaters
oh, what have I lost?
The glass remains unchanged but what I see through it differs moment by moment. This door is truly of a port in air; I observe these shifting worlds, their translucent seconds ever ticking. Nothing rests – the Texas mountain laurel’s blossoms fade and flutter to the ground while the wind weaves intricate patterns through its branches. Rogue onion sprouts scatter throughout this small section of yard, and a squirrel scampers along the cedar pickets. Light slants through a hole in the clouds. A hummingbird buzzes by. Even the earth moves, and five minutes ago rain tapped out an inconsistent tune on my metal roof. I lift the shakuhachi to my lips, and exhaling, enter the day.
three dogs yapping
announce spring’s arrival
oh, sweet music!
The Daily Celebration
Life here is good, but sometimes scary. My community has been rocked by four explosions, four bombs meant to maim and kill. Sunday’s occurred just a few miles from my home of 34 years, and it seems that the package that exploded overnight some sixty miles south of Austin at the FedEx facility in Schertz (coincidentally just a few miles from my sister’s house), was sent from the nearby FedEx store that I frequent. All this is to say that no matter how we try, we ultimately control little. Each day, each step, could be our last. Thus I pledge to celebrate today’s breath, to speak kind words and do no harm. To listen, to taste, to see. To feel, to thank.
That incessant buzz around the mountain laurel hummingbirds are back!
What toll, dripping from his fingers? How does he sleep? Which truth
honored? The senator takes millions and offers prayers in lieu of action,
betraying the children, appeasing his benefactor. Seventeen chairs emptied
on this day, alone. He says nothing can be done, that laws are ineffective,
the shooting was “inexplicable.” What do his thoughts weigh? What griefs
will they bear? Can they reverse a bullet’s track or bring laughter back
to a family’s shattered life? Would any god answer this man’s prayers?
even the skunk balks
at Rubio’s empty words