< 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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Christine Shook
New York, NY, USA

The Railroad Tracks

before dusk
tips of poplar leaves
guide me
to his shadow
thrown across sand

I lead him through tunnels, under bridges, between railroad cars. He follows with a flask of gin in his back pocket. We find an old smoking car with curtains left on the windows and red leather seats. Afraid to sit down, I lean against his legs while he passes the flask.

in this maze
of swaying phantoms
I grab one
by its drifting robe
watch it float away

Sitting on his lap, my fingers comb a thicket of sandy hair on his bowed head. He strokes my cheek with his thumb as if cleaning a nugget of gold. A red splotch of sun is hurled against the window. We have just begun.

we get dressed
in the shadows
hands shaking
I reach for his flask
drink until empty

I search the surrounding woods for a souvenir of our meeting. Between two cherry trees a wounded junco lies on the ground flapping a broken wing. His hands around mine, I hold it close to my chest.

he remains
in the parking lot
watching me
run for cover
in the summer rain