< 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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Autumn Noelle Hall
Green Mountain Falls, Colorado, USA

Give Us Your Fear, Your Power, Your Dire Neuroses Yearning To Feel Safe…

As my husband and I enter the symphony hall, tickets from a friend in hand, we are surprised—no, shocked—to encounter newly-installed metal detectors. The usual docents have been joined by contracted security, who require I surrender my purse and consent to its search. When we ask why—what on earth brought this about—the docent only parrots what she’s been told: this is just a precaution against possible future incidents.

security protocol
revolving around
Holst’s Planets—
has Pluto been declared
an illegal immigrant . . . ?

As we join our friend in her seats, we see she is equally shaken. Together, we theorize about the fear-mongering ways those in power manipulate our anxieties to implement security measures “for our own protection.” One day, metal detectors; the next day, militarized guards. Talk quickly turns to the rise of Nazi Germany and how such stratagems often take hold under complicit citizens’ noses. Any sense of patriotism falls just as a star spangled banner the width of the orchestra is slowly lowered from the loge.

40 years
of military service
between us
we’ve earned the right to sit out
the National Anthem

At intermission—as we step outside for a breath of early autumn air—the hall’s side door automatically locks behind us. Remembering the metal detectors, we speculate about how else we—or a gunman—might enter the building. I consider the invisibility black concert dress and a violin case might afford—how readily one could slip unsuspected through the musicians’ entrance. But as intermission winds down, an unwitting janitor demonstrates a simpler way. Spotting us on the patio, he sets down his carpet sweeper to hold open the door for us. Had we wanted to, we could have brought anyone through.

bass oboe on loan—
one of only a dozen
turns out
the oboist’s reed knife
passed security’s muster