< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019
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Glenn G. Coats
Carolina Shores, North Carolina, USA


Senescence

1968. My father finally finds a boat that is good for sailing as well as fishing: wide beam, plenty of cockpit space, sides blue as the sea. After work, he launches at the reservoir, the small motor whirring him into deep, cold water. He lets the boat drift as he laces a live herring onto his hook, adds weight enough to carry his bait down to the bottom.

One evening, the sky darkens, lightning flashes in the distance. Other boats quickly line up to leave the water. He continues to fish while thunder rolls and echoes across the lake.

The bolt strikes close to the boat—a flash, crack, and every hair on my father’s arms is standing straight up. His legs are no longer steady. He sits for a time, takes deep breaths as rain soaks through to his skin. Finally he starts the motor and moves his boat toward the launch ramp.

His barber is first to notice. “Your hair has turned white since last I saw you,” Mr Earl says. “Are you feeling all right?”

My father decides to sell his boat and he never purchases another.

casting into a winter sky
the fisherman slows
his retrieve

pine shadows
the weight of boots
filled with river

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