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

HAIBUN

Bending Over The Bones
Rhonda Maltbie, USA

We walk the trail through scrub trees, towards the huckleberry fields. Wildflowers splash red Indian Paintbrush in the tall grasses. Pollen floats in the sunlight like pixie dust in a Peter Pan cartoon.

My grandfather leads the way. He is tall and thick; his weathered face an unspoken endearment. He carries a carved walking stick with a bear-head handle.

We picnic on a large flat rock near the edge of a clearing. He tells stories as we eat cold chicken, egg salad sandwiches and drink Kool-aid.

cumulus clouds
freckle the ground with sun-
shine shadows

“ Do you ever have the feeling you're being watched?

When I was a boy, a very long time ago, my brother and I found a dead body very near here. I was just about your age. All that was left were the bones. We knelt down to look at it closer, my brother poked it with a stick. The clothes were torn into rags as if they had been through a wood chipper.

This was no mere animal that had done this.”

Goose bumps raise the hair on my arms. A sudden breeze sends a shiver down my back. I ask, “What do you think did it, Grandpa?”

He looks around and leans in close. He whispers, “Bigfoot,” and chuckles.
I look at him as if he has just grown a toe in the middle of his forehead. He laughs even harder and draws me into a hug that squeezes me breathless,

“Don't worry sweetheart, I know where he lives. I've been there. You are safe with me.”

at dusk
green pine outlined in gold
a heron drinks

 


 

Rhonda Maltbie received first honorable mention for the Homer J. Henderson Award in 1983 from the Washington Poets Association. She has appeared in various poetry magazines and e-zines since then. Most recently, a collection of 5 poems was posted at Underground Window in October of 2004.

 

 


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