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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Angelee Deodhar
Chandigarh, Union Territory, India


A Foreign Guest

Autumn deepening—
my neighbour
how does he live, I wonder?

                 —Matsuo Basho

My neighbor’s front yard and path to their door is full of gnomes, turtle doves, mushrooms, toads, wire butterflies and even a straw doll under the mail box. Although the lawn and garden are well tended I have never seen anyone outside the home.

Now a colorful doll’s house which sits on their lawn is a shelter for small rodents. I can see through the blue windows and pink doors that the walls inside are painted too. At my approach a small furry creature runs inside to hide.

This morning, two matching hand-crafted Amish Bentwood rocking chairs and a child’s wooden chair are left outside with the trash bins. I wonder why those perfectly good chairs have been abandoned. If I could, I would bring them into our house, but this is Chicago and I am just a guest here. The child’s chair must have been used by the little girl whose doll’s house now lies neglected.

Perhaps some needy family will get them or they will end up in someone’s fireplace; had it been India they would have been handed down as family heirlooms.

After my walk, the chairs and doll’s house are gone.

out of fog
a crow's cracked caw
drips into silence


Author's Note: Basho’s haiku was translated by Haruo Shirane.

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