Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 4, December 2010

Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA


Surface Tension

The high-diving board is rough like a lizard’s skin. We drip up the ladder over and over again. Nothing fancy, it is a quick run to the end and a jump. We fall legs straight with arms at our sides like soldiers. Now and then, we pull our knees to our chests and hit the water in cannonball position. Water sprays in all directions. The lifeguard blows his whistle and tells us to dry off for fifteen minutes.

radios tuned
to the same station
sun bathers

We reach for the trunks of skinny pines and birches as we scale the quarry wall. Our knees are shaking. White stones tumble down into the water. At the top, we look down from our perch and study the lake below. “Dead ducks,” one of us says, “we’d have to jump out a good six feet to miss the rocks.” Then the long climb back down which is harder than the way up.

the echo
of firecrackers

The Walking Bridge is empty at dusk. We walk across until we are above the main current where shad fishermen anchor in spring and lift jig heads up and down off the bottom. The water below is dark and moving like a shadow. No thinking, we jump in pairs, feet first, then sink like stones till our feet touch bottom. Our arms breast stroke hard to the surface, lungs gasping for breath. Already the current has pushed our bodies down the Delaware. Cold and shivering, we wash ashore downstream. It is a long way back, no shoes on our feet, all the stones along the river.

no moon
I stumble over
the dark

after the last coal car







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