Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 1, March 2010

Cynthia Rowe
Woollahra, New South Wales, Australia


Illusion of Water

We decide to head back south down the centre, taking the highway. We know it will be hotter than the coast road, that there will be no cooling breeze. The four-wheel drive clatters over the ruts. Dust flies up, leaving a soupy smear of bugs splattered across the windscreen. 

cloudless sky
a buzzard swoops
on a goanna

Anthills flash by, tall as trees and wreathed in desert powder. No cars go past along the highway and I begin to wish we’d taken the coast road. What if the four-wheel drive breaks down? Red dust billows in the hot breeze, the sky sucks up the air, the road shimmers with a watery mirage.

Without warning, a truck appears, heading in our direction. Followed by another. And another. Soon a stream of vehicles leaves us cocooned within ochre fog. Stones ping against the windscreen. A swathe of khaki and green trundles by and, through the mist of army grit, a roadhouse surges.

heat haze
the illusion of water
in desert sand

The four-wheel drive rattles to a halt. Squinting and coughing, I brush myself down. Inside the squat building, a television blares beneath a creaking ceiling fan. Soldiers yell and scream, urging a local swimmer to gold on the other side of the planet.





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