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Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1


Haibun ~ Marcia Fairbanks


Cape May -- Fall

Raptor sightings are sparse today. A freckle-faced naturalist lures me from the hawk watch platform. She needs spectators for her monarch banding demonstration. I am beguiled, envision how thin must the filament be to encircle a butterfly's leg.

She laughs at my birder's eye viewpoint, waits for quiet from her audience. Extracts a folded, freshly-netted specimen from a plastic Ziplock bag. Orange origami, white-spotted, black crease lines. An admonition from my childhood—don't touch their wings, it's magic dust—flutters down the years.

The conjurer unfolds her monarch with one hand. Blunt thumbnail scrapes a few stained-glass scales from the butterfly's forewing. Now her other hand appears, seals a tiny white latex bar-coded label to the wing. Hand quicker than the eye, she releases the butterfly. Rubs the dust from her forefinger and thumb.

For a sponsorship donation toward conservation and research I will, as next of kin, be notified how far my butterfly glided on her migratory wire before some predator devours her body, discarding on the ground her name-tagged iridescent wings.

orange flashes
bright as nighttime beacon
Delaware Bay


For someone compelled to write short, to distill to the essence, Marcia Fairbanks finds haibun the perfect medium. She has learned to be still, to focus on the telling detail through her hobby of bird watching. She is a freelance editor and proofreader. Her own works have appeared in Contemporary Haibun, flashquake, Tampa Review, Snowy Egret, and other literary journals.


Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku