What I know about time – haibun


[there’s a little bit of strong language in this one]

‘She’s here,’ Pete says. ‘Can you come?’
‘The fuck.’
‘She’s tearing up the place. Shit man she’s your—‘
‘Forget it. She’s the one who walked.’
‘Just talk to her,’ he says. He puts his hand over the phone: “I got nothin to say to that fuck. Jesus” — “Just try won’t you? For Peetey?” — “For Peetey?” — “You can’t keep doing this.” — “Doin? DOIN? WHAT AM I DOIN?”—
He’s back. ‘Alright, I’ll come.’


The place is way out in the suburbs so it takes hours of waiting on platforms, sitting up the back in buses. But then again it takes no time at all: turn a corner and there’s always the unexpected, step through a doorway, push a curtain aside and next thing you’re in a field; ride that bus far enough and now the hoardings are in Spanish or Cyrillic, the windows are smoking holes and there’s strangers watching you from the doorways.

It’s a fibro house. The gate’s hanging off, the front is littered and there’s a green Ford up on bricks, wheels lost, grass verdant underneath. He’s brought some shopping: a fish, instant noodles, a carton of long-life milk.

The door is unlocked and the house is quiet, only the curtain moves in the breeze.
He leaves the groceries on the kitchen table. In the corner the TV is on silently looping some period romance with Laura Dern in a big hat, the dappled sunlight sparkling on her perfect tears. He flicks it off.

‘Kitty? Pete? Yo.’

Low sunlight on the lino and the house is full of shadows. Go down the corridor there’s a glow from the bedroom. A bedside lamp is draped with a red scarf, a thin blanket covers someone sleeping on their side.

He stands and watches for a moment. And then he takes off his jacket, hangs his shirt and pants, lines his shoes up, rolls his socks inside. He lifts the blanket and lies down. He looks straight up following the ceiling cracks, the extravagant bloom of water stains. He reaches over and clicks the light off careful not to disturb the sleeper. As the afternoon settles he becomes still, listening to the bed creaking moving gently with their breathing, sensing time turning back on itself, the scenes shifting.


autumn’s first green plums
small and hard in your palm
a cold rain from the west.

A haibun is a poetic form combining prose and a haiku. I’m not sure this qualifies (being a bit unconventional).

[To be continued]

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