Edited by Pravat Kumar Padhy
- Written by: Elizabeth Crocket
I ask the doctor and physiotherapist if I will walk again and am relieved when they answer yes, in unison. They explain the limitation of my permanent leg disability. When the physiotherapist gets me up to walk with the aid of a walker, I wonder if she realizes it is the most severe physical challenge of my life. I lost my father earlier in the year, but I imagine his hand on my back.
dad's vision only hampered
- Written by: Diana Webb
You can keep the Ganges, Mississippi and Nile. Here by this little-known tributary of the Thames, a long green thought in a long green shade.
dot to dot stars
of reflected ripples
Author’s Note: The haibun is written in memory of the famous metaphysical poet, Andrew Marvell.
- Written by: Mircea Moldovan
When a tornado takes my hut away, I feel saddened and take the wooden doll by her hand and proceed towards the seashore. I pick shells, greet a blue dragonfly and finally, make a big sandcastle sitting under the twilight sky. Place the flag of a monarch butterfly at the top of the tower and experience the breeze of happiness caressing my doll.
with me the joyful screams of a seagull
- Written by: Réka Nyitrai (Romania) & Alan Peat (UK)
On my way home, a woman dressed in green approaches me and hands me an envelope. She says the envelope contains a letter from my estranged mother. I tell her it must be a mistake because I live with my mother and spoke with her no more than an hour ago. But the woman insists that the letter is indeed addressed to me. I open the envelope which contains nothing but a dry leaf. On the back of the leaf, it is inscribed:
I'm waiting for you to come back home.
Your loving mother,
in every ring
an old storm’s story
An ekphrastic haibun based on Toyen’s painting ‘The Message Of The Forest (1936)
- Written by: Hemapriya Chellappan
On our way back home from trekking, my husband and I find a hidden spot with several waterfalls. Some are thunderous, some are sublime, but each is a beauty in its own right. Aloof in the deep mountainous setting, the place looks prehistoric, with giant ferns and towering pine trees. We venture deeper into the woods. Suddenly, the ground beneath our feet trembles.
cataclysm the earth throws a crisp dark shadow
- Written by: Anne Kundtz
In a centuries-old inn, hanging on the edge of a Colorado mountainside, a key museum—1000 keys dangle from the ceiling, lay in dusty shadow boxes, or swing from faded ribbons tied to 10-pound nails—none of them unlock or lock anything anymore.
Rock Hudson’s bedroom, Greta Garbo’s Caddie key, commemorative keys to the city of Jackson, Wyoming, and Innsbruck, Germany. Half keys for lovers to keep, keys to the kingdom of somewhere. Skeleton keys and blank keys waiting to open anything.
The key to my heart hangs on a nail in the kitchen. Sometimes, I wear it on my sleeve or hang it on a ribbon around my neck. Often it rests heavy or bangs on my solar plexus trying to get in.
just out of reach…
- Written by: Andrea Eldridge
Reflections, on the past year, on the next year, in the window. I’m peering out onto the deck and beyond, at the unexpected light showdown over the mountain. In the bottom left windowpane is framed the reflection of our fire burning on the hearth. This past year of misplaced loyalties and loss is up in smoke. The middle panes hold two branches mirroring one another each with snow still clinging. In front of them, identical watchdogs stand guard at the sill. In the top two panes, new year’s rockets streak and flash. For the finale, a fireworks burst of blooms—pink, green, and white cosmic chrysanthemums. At this moment, the promise of a new year.
a blank slate sky—
- Written by: Stephen Toft
sitting in the square with a takeaway coffee and a satchel full of detective books, i’m on the only bench that the morning sun has reached. the street drinkers and drug addicts have started doing what they do - or maybe they never stopped. i recognise one of them from the homeless project, and he greets me with an unexpected warmth by offering a swig of his vodka.
dirty river -
a pair of angel wings
- Written by: John Zheng
You are a rice seedling I have grown in the paddy of my heart, a rope bridge I sway between city and country, a seesaw I use to keep ups and downs like the motion of sun and moon. Tell me when you want to smell the scent of new rice, and I will bring you a whole bag of it grown with my muddy hands. Let’s promise to meet on that wooden bridge when we see each other again. Trust me, our yin yang will spin forever like the earth under our feet.
a strong wish to hear
- Written by: Florin Golban
I was trying to guess the slabs of the platform. There were tufts of grass covered in mist on the edges. The station was barely out of the fog. Silhouettes ran back and forth.
Some for tickets, some for cigarettes and pretzels.
I felt like a stowaway among the commuters at seven in the morning. I got on the train, stomping down the aisle, and lit a cigarette, drawing on the steamy train window.
cloudy sky -
the cock crows
the same song