Haibun Today

A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Editor
Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011

Terri L. French
Huntsville, Alabama, USA



We are riding in the back seat of a broken down Ford Falcon in Belize City with two men whom we have never met; one has long dreadlocks and the other a nervous stammer. Twenty bucks is all it costs to have them taxi us around the city for an hour. Dreadlocks drives and the stammerer is our guide.

a child in uniform
sweeps dirt

We pass semi-dilapidated structures which have not been rebuilt since Hurricane Hattie nearly destroyed the city in 1961. The two young men argue over dates and facts, peppering rasta-flavored English with their native Kriol. "Cheese 'n Rice! Dat da lone rass!" says the driver to his buddy, who sighs and gazes out the passenger's side window.

a virgin mary
on the dashboard—
city squalor

As we drive past the cemetery dreadlocks tells us it is full of their young people, victims of gang violence and drug wars.

Lord's Ridge
with her hem
the mother dusts his grave

We stop for beers and things loosen up. Their names are Earl and Edwin and they've been friends since childhood. Earl says he has a computer and a girlfriend in New York City. Edwin has four children. He doesn't mention a wife. They drive us back to our port where lines of flip-flopped tourists wait to reboard. My husband shakes their hands and Edwin stammers his thanks.

the waiter offers
another mojito







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