Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 1, March 2011

Chris Bays
Beavercreek, Ohio, USA


Near Gem City

As an ex-military brat, I understand him, this man who sometimes stands at the side of the street when I drive home from work. I can relate to him not having a permanent home, moving from place to place, waving to people whom he may never see again.

He appears old enough to be my father, were my father alive today. Perhaps he is an ex-vet like papa was. From this distance his beard looks as if it had been stolen from a portrait of Ulysses S. Grant. But as my car's headlights edge closer, I see streaks of dirt near his brow. An army jacket hangs loosely around humped shoulders. He wears oversized combat boots, half laced. With cut-off gloves, he holds up a sign, WORK FOR FOOD.

I have never seen anyone take him in, here or on the other side of the street, where he usually stands. What if papa had rambled down dark streets after Vietnam? I drive past the man and head home.

ringed moon . . .
a shopping cart
in a vacant lot







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