Haibun Today

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

Gary LeBel
Cumming, Georgia, USA


Last Light in Talmo


under wind-whitened oaks,
a young paint wiles away
 a calm Dixie evening
before the storm.

The small green sign reads ‘Talmo.’ On the outskirts of town someone has put up a folksy portrait of Jesus painted on a square of plywood—he looks more biker than savior.

It’s mid-evening and soon to rain. After a bend in the road, the deep bowl of a grassy valley opens, wielding a slight magnetic pull of the past. What is ‘local color’ if not the unrepeatable palette of the never-again? Backlighting the valley ridge-line with a sudden burst of glow, the evening sun bleeds an orangey pink translucence through a sheet of pale-gray misting rain:

this sky is Bierstadt’s or Fitz Hugh Lane’s or Church’s, artists whose vision stalked the manitou of the last frontier they must have sensed was already vanishing . . .

and an otherwise unremarkable day makes a noteworthy exit with last light in Talmo.

What would I do you ask
if things were different?
I’d ride bareback
all spring long between the Platte
and the Yellowstone.








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