Haibun Today

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

Patricia Prime
Auckland, New Zealand



I recall the colour of the swimsuits mother made us: they were like rainbows, gathered at the waist with shirring elastic. I can smell the brine; see the drip of ice cream cones as we strolled across the road towards the beach. It was here I and my sister and her boyfriend played in the tide pools. Out of sight our parents sheltered behind a breakwater.

The three of us went to the fair: octopus, aerial swing, house of horrors, ghost train; the stickiness of toffee apples, candy flow and sticks of pink rock with the name of the seaside all the way through. There was the slow calm of the Ferris wheel; my sister and her boyfriend above me strangely buoyant. Their voices were as distant as the clouds. Afterwards, the descent and the release from the sky. Alighting, they took my hands, felt inside my clutched palm for the last of the fairground tickets; a ‘child’ ticket for me on the bumper cars.

years later
I recall being
the ‘gooseberry,’
the unease in something
I sensed but didn’t understand

the image returns
of a thirteen year old girl
so lovely in the photo
so uncertain of herself
and her part as voyeur

the dividing line
between teenager
and young woman
in that shivery uncertainty




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