Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 4, December 2011

Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA


Night Brings Peace

The year that I had wood shop, I made a broom holder out of poplar and a book shelf. The wood was green in color; easy to cut and sand. George Muglia was in that class.

I wasn't his only target. He seemed to take aim at the quiet ones. Ones who were more bone than muscle.There was a bull's eye on my shoulder and George fired whenever he had a chance. Bam Bam Bam. "There are three shots for nothing," he would say as he pounded my arm. "You're not gonna cry little baby."

a breath
of fresh cut wood
late autumn

Seventh grade. No one saw me without a shirt. My parents never noticed my bruised shoulder which looked like a map of the moon. I never played ball in the yard bare-chested. Never left the bath without a towel pulled tightly around me.

I could have turned George in to Mr. Bear who taught English. I could have shown the school nurse my arm or gone to the principal. I did not.

At the end of that school year, my family moved to another town and I never saw George Muglia again. His old man beat him and his clothes smelled like dirty laundry. Those things I remember. He taught me a lesson. It isn't that meanness carries from generation to generation; it's that nothing is gained by keeping silent.

yard work
my shoulder predicts
more rain


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