Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011

Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA



He never read “Once upon a time” to his daughters, never filled out a form or an application, never checked the newspaper for sales, never followed a map to a place he had never been. Never heard the sound of his reading voice.

years of silence
I give the geraniums
a full glass

His reading voice stayed underground, dormant like a root deep in frozen earth. Says he waited a lifetime for this and he holds each book as if it is sacred.

Charles is reading now and his voice rumbles like a freight train. It is a big voice, crosses the room and you hear it outside the door. Each word chimes alone like he is calling role: the names of every doubter, every teacher, and every tutor shaking in his voice. You get what you expect and nobody expected much.

I’m not about to stop him and say, “You need to read the words smoothly like someone who is talking” or “You have to read the words all together.” No, I am letting him go, letting him open all the windows, all at once. He deserves that much.

empty classroom
desks still warm
from the hands






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