Haibun Today

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

Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA



she remembers
soldiers in the hills
cold corner

Sadia confuses the sounds of long and short vowels. Even when she is right, Sadia doubts herself and tries words again. Today, I stop her and teach the pattern of a long vowel followed by a consonant then silent e. Sadia looks surprised and says she understands. Yet, I taught this pattern to her last year and the year before that.

"I can't remember," Sadia says. "I don't know the driver's manual and we went over it again and again. I forget meanings and the girls at work help me with homework. I tell the doctor the medication is too strong. I tell him it makes me forget."

I remind Sadia of the Baliwood movies. "You retell whole stories, all the details. I don't have to watch them." Then I remind Sadia of the fairy tale she remembered from her childhood. "It was almost like Cinderella," I say.

Sadia doesn't know what happened to the book of stories. She doesn't know where the soldiers took her brother and her father. I finish the lesson and Sadia leaves for work.

literacy classes
she misses the music
of her language

The afternoon passes and in the twilight I see her walking down the street. Sadia's face is red from the wind and cold. I surprise her with hello. We talk for a moment about winter in the air but there is little to say without books spread before me. I unlock the car, look up, and she is gone.

snow at night
the student pronounces
silent letters

*"literacy classes" first appeared in 3 Lights (Issue 2)






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