Haibun Today

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

Carol Pearce-Worthington
New York City, New York, USA


Country Roads

The three of us sit in a tavern on the corner of Main in Cuba City and we drink beer and eat hamburgers, my father with red dye marks tattooed to his temples to guide the radiation that is losing a battle against the tumors.  We’re having fun, he says, sounding surprised. We are all surprised. When he laughs those red hope lines wrinkle.

Later we drive the country roads he memorized as a child. Dust rises around the car then settles as we pass farm houses with inner tube swings dangling from elm branches and rocky shallow creeks and cows in pastures, corn growing to the horizon, and occasional flashes of lightning until finally dusk settles into darkness.

So we cross back over the Mississippi and drive through hills to the home where we used to think we were safe, that no harm could come, letting go of childhood beliefs that if we could only stay right here we would be all right, while outside birds gather from far places, bathe in puddles, eat from the feeder, and chatter in a language no human understands, and as we sleep time passes, clouds move, the earth shifts, trees bend and lose their leaves regain their leaves then go fallow again, the home is sold and bought, the old go away, the children grow up and leave, the birds vanish then reappear, the tavern is torn down so that nothing is ever the same again except that it is the same as ever and so . . .

one quick glance
at the clock
a workman twirls his mop

over the bridge
many lights
many stars


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