Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011



Rita Hooks
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

 

Summer Sidewalks

St. Agnes Elementary lets out for the summer, and my sisters and I play on the sidewalks under the shade of the oak and maple trees on Hempstead Avenue. The Healy boys write their initials in the wet cement, where the sidewalk has been repaired. Billy, the younger one, writes a big bold B.H. while his older brother Johnny writes a much smaller J.H. We make mud pies with rocks inside and line them up on the curb.

A little ways down the street, a dead house sparrow oozes on the sidewalk. I poke it with a stick. It doesn't move. I look at the still feathers, beak, and open eyes. I poke it again. Nearby, lines of black ants and red ants crisscross the sidewalk. I step on the red ants, but let the black ones live.

Jumping rope with my sisters, I sing, "Gypsy, Gypsy, please tell me who my husband's gonna be? Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief?" Then I ride my red skateboard downhill on the sidewalk by the Healy boys' house.

too late
not to step on a crack
not to break mother's back

end

 

 

 

 

 

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