Haibun Today

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

Barbara A Taylor
Mountain Top, New South Wales, Australia


Family Is Everything

coming home
late connections
to my roots

“But what will you do here?” that’s all my dear sister can say. Still, off I travel, back to my homeland, after an absence of eighteen years . . . Flying in over patchwork fields of chocolate furrows and rolled fresh hay, those same old sorrows arise—the last time I’d stayed at mother’s. I’m reuniting with my sister, a woman I hardly know. On this Irish autumn day there’s a line of muddied sandals arranged at her front door.

an empty house
on the worn coir mat
a note: “come on in”

It is three days since I left Australia when spring was in the scented air, where my windows and doors are kept open all year round. Here in Ireland, chilliness already dampens my soul. I sit alone at her table with an expensive merlot I’d bought at the duty free, my body still trembling from all the flying and tedium of airports. After a speedy dinner she rushes to watch the television. I go to bed. Next day she takes me to our family home, where saplings sprout from rusty roof gutters and the faded blinds pulled down. Mother’s favourite, festooned fuchsias, still bloom on rugged dry stonewalls. The once grand entrance is now boarded-up. Hornets are nesting in one corner. Dandelions grow tall in cracked pathways. Along the roadside there’s blackbirds and robins flitting between blackberries. The cool air smells of fast burning turf. Rising mists spread magic on the purple heathered hills—but I sure don’t miss those high hedgerows, they seem to lock my sister in.

the rift
between us




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