Haibun Today
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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 3, September 2011



Patricia Kennelly
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

 

Beach-combing

Mermaid's tears
frosted remnants of a life
left along the shore

Today, my mother gave me a clear plastic bag filled with shells. She had dated her journey writing "Milford, September 23rd" on the baggie's white strip in her distinct cursive handwriting. She tells me she is sorry she couldn't find any sea glass . . . there is rarely sea glass on the shore anymore. I tell her that's a good thing; it means there is less litter in the ocean.

For sixteen summers, we hunted for sea glass at low tide and after turbulent afternoon rainstorms. I filled Mason jars with the colors of Long Island Sound—bright blue, turquoise, deep green, amber and, if I was really lucky, pink or red. Putting the pieces in my pocket, running my fingers across the smooth, saline wave-tumbled surfaces, I wondered where the glass shards came from. I imagined shipwrecks, jewels at sea, and rolled parchment messages left in thick green glass bottles.

Today, we are walking the shoreline in West Haven; I am looking for one piece of sea glass to take home to put in a jar with my shells. In the cold air, we watch a lone swimmer in a red cap swimming laps. It is high tide; we leave empty-handed.

Fading hostas and cedar shingles
frame the beach house
now boarded up

end

 

 

 

 

 

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