Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2008, vol 6 no 2
 

HAIBUN
 

HOLDING ON
Adelaide B. Shaw

 

At 102, my father travels alone by plane from Los Angeles to New York. At 103, still mentally active, but slowing down physically. At 104, diagnosed with colon cancer. For two years he dies slowly. A gradual shutting down of all his parts with no pain. He sleeps more, eats less, speaks little, is nearly blind.

My sister moves in with him. I visit as often as I can. Little to do, except to keep him clean and comfortable, provide company when he is awake. He talks about his youth, repeating tales of adventure, his childhood in Naples, his greenhorn years in America. His travels to New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Haven, Los Angeles. The beginning of the 20th century, the 20s and 30s. Carefree. No wife and children. A time when dying did not rule his thoughts.

He vacillates between acceptance and refusal to give in. "I've been around too long," he says, "now, at last, I join your mother."

a soft snoring
in the sickroom
Santa Ana winds

 


Adelaide Shaw Adelaide B. Shaw writes haiku, tanka and haibun, as well as short stories. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, both in print and on-line, in the US and abroad. When not writing haiku, she writes short fiction. She and her husband live in a small town in upstate New York.