koi sidebar

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

Volume 13, Number 2, June 2019

Matthew Caretti
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, USA


She takes me home. Parents, sister, brother, nieces, nephews and friends. Some occasional English. A bit of German. The rest Magyar. Lovely to the ear. Impossible to my tongue. Yet some semblance of Hello! in her tiny village.

behind an old gate
the yelp of a cur

The region of her ancestors. A spa destination. But the season is out. The air cold. The old castle’s bridge drawn up for the winter. The moat’s soak frozen over. Still the konditors continue their work. So we sit together. She orders something sweet for both of us. And something warm.

green tea
the waters of Balaton
tint winter clouds

One old palace opens its doors. The Helikon. Pure opulence. The art. Furniture. Chandeliers. Yet only the library holds my attention. Not the twelve-foot shelves or gold-bound volumes. Or even the tomes labelled in more foreign tongues than I can count. But the worn paperback of the watchman.

first snow
Kundera’s opus
turned to page one

We head to the capital. Take the long way. Village, open field and village. Repeat. Roundabouts with indecipherable signposts. Then high spires. Frozen crosses. A hidden chapel.

roadside forest
dressed in white
a winter bride

Within the walls of old Buda. Then a funicular descending to the Danube. On to St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the preserved hand of the church’s namesake, the country’s founder. Out into the Christmas market. The glow of the season.

mulling wine
the too kind smile
of Santa’s helper

We cross into Austria. Prepare to fly out on St. Nicholas Day. At the doorway of each roadside home, children’s shoes polished and empty. Awaiting a fill of sweets.

morning snow
on the runway
eight prancing deer



| contents page | next haibun |

koi sidebar r