Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 4, Number 2, June 2010

Graham High
Blackheath, London, England



She seldom goes out now, my dear old mother who’s almost blind, not even into her own garden. She never meets anyone – doesn’t want to meet anyone. But this time it’s different. This new girl friend sounds as though, at last, this must be the one. She wants to see her son settled before she dies; wants to see this girl with the strange name.

‘She’s called Luana mother’, I tell her again. I have reclaimed the garden table and the folding chairs from the tool shed, dusted off the cobwebs and set out the napkins and the best china. I remember how she was so proud to entertain: how she could lay out a beautiful table like no-one else.

I lead her to her seat to wait. It is high summer and she has not ventured into her own back terrace for almost a year.

she touches the sun’s face        with her skin

She awaits our visitor with silent agitation.

The doorbell rings. I leave her. She hears me return again – then discerns a new voice, senses a different presence.

the new girl        breathing the colour of her scent

Over tea and cakes the conversation runs smoothly. My mother has not been so relaxed, so animated for a long time. After a second cup of tea she asks to hold Luana’s hand. She wants to see her.

feeling her face        her beauty        builds slowly

‘Goodness – such a pretty girl’ declares my mother. Her eyes seem watery. There’s been so little contact in her life for such a long time her other senses have dulled. They have forgotten about pleasure; about responsiveness; exchange.

under the table        sunset warming her knees

The meeting over, she is content. She wants to move back into the house. She doesn’t want help. She can manage to reach the door quite well by herself thank you.

open to everything        the sensory tip of her stick




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