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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 12, Number 4, December 2018

Margaret Chula's "For Rent," A Commentary by Cyndi Lloyd

The title of Margaret Chula’s haibun, "For Rent," immediately caught me attention. What is for rent? The title reads like a sign or a want ad. Chula artfully situates the metaphorical within the literal so that I’m surprised to discover the “open space” for rent is a space in the speaker’s heart.

The word “open” invited me right into the poem. The speaker opens her heart, and in doing so, leads me to contemplate the “open” spaces in my heart – my heart with pain and misery tearing and shredding the walls, these spaces still occupied with some of my family members and their luggage of destructive tools.

The image of the birth certificate on the wall resonated with me – a document, Chula writes, “binding me to this family not of my choosing.” I feel like I don’t belong in my family. My heart and mind battle over what’s best for me, what’s best for my family: Should I sever ties? Do I keep trying? What should I do? I hoped Chula’s haibun would give me an answer, but the speaker only states that her “family has vacated” the space in her heart. Did they leave on their own accord? Are they deceased? Or did the speaker evict them? There isn’t an answer. I realize each person must decide what is best for her or him.

The haiku makes me feel hopeful, that even love can be found from unexpected sources. It’s simply a matter of always keeping the heart open to receive love when it appears.

Margaret Chula

For Rent

The open space in my heart that my family has vacated. Slightly shabby, walls tilting from the storms of disputes. Chenille rugs worn thin from constant trampling. Unfurnished because I’ve emptied out all memories and piles of worthless words—letters and ultimatums and even my birth certificate taped to the wall, the deed binding me to this family not of my choosing.

new tenant
gives her a get well card
signs it “Love”




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