< meta charset="UTF-8"> Haibun Today: A Haibun & Tanka Prose Journal

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 4, December 2019

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Jennifer Thiermann
Glenview, Illinois, USA


It is 1961. Dad and I head into California’s hot central valley. The ‘51 Plymouth has no seat belts, no air conditioning, and there's an unpleasant stickiness to the vinyl front seat. Our destination is a settled migrant community with the first farm workers’ self-help housing project.

We arrive at a construction site. Dad says Hello and introduces me, his 11-year-old daughter. Then he just leaves me and drives off to a meeting. Everyone is speaking Spanish; I don’t understand a thing.

A smiling man shows me how to unroll, cut and stuff insulation into the framed walls. At lunchtime a couple takes me to their home. The house looks like a shack to me and doesn’t have a bathroom, only an outhouse. A little girl takes my hand and shows me her comb, and a raggedy doll. On the wall, I notice a calendar print of Jesus blessing a flock of sheep.

That night my arms break out in a terrible rash. Why hadn't anyone given me gloves or warned me not to handle the pink fiberglass side of that foil-backed insulation?

playing dress up
a daisy chain
made of dandelions