Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3

HAIBUN

Just Past Easter
Beth Vieira, USA

1. Caravan

We drive in a line of old Cadillacs and one faded blue Pontiac, like Dead Heads to a show. Up the narrowing valleys to the West Virginian hills, ever steeper as we climb, as ants up mounds of freshly turned soil.

just past Easter
your body coffined
in the black car ahead
and yet the greening of hills

2. Wake

Kleenex boxes everywhere. People I don't know and will never see again. Quiet voices murmuring. Slowly I approach your laid out body in a suit you never would have worn. Mountain man. Your chest heaves upward with an in-breath, or is it me?


brown embalming fluid
your mouth sags
lips so blue
one last kiss

 

3. Memorial

A Methodist reads from a thumbed bible to your kin that you barely knew. Some find solace from the shock of your youth spoiled. Those in the caravan squirm on the hard oaken pews like being in a dentist chair motionless for hours.

white walled chapel
with a podium
the hymnals
not your music

4. Family Plot

Markers in Morgantown. All the names. David, you are just another Hughes now. Will anyone come visit you here on this lonely hillside, muddied sod for ground?

the earth unearthed
placed deep within
a metal bronzed box
it begins to rain

A single tear drops to my upper lip and I lick the saltiness thinking of your sweat.

 


 

Beth Vieira is a student of Zen, haiku, and Japanese. She received her PhD from Johns Hopkins University in Comparative Literature and Intellectual History. She was a professor at the University of California at Berkeley before retiring to write. She lives in Santa Cruz, California, USA, where she spends much of her time with her first love, the sea

 

 


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