the old man is in my kitchen, whistling. he came through the window that should be a door. leaves cover the floor like an exhalation. the old man wants a knife; he wants to carve pumpkins. he scoops seeds with his thin brown hands. he lays them out on the newspapers like a body, like sacrifice. he breathes cigarette smoke into the silence: a hymn, a prayer. ash falls from his arms like feathers. his fingers are wet — he holds them in the air. children are here, he says. answer the door.

a child’s voice—
the sound
when the papers fell



cattails (January 2014) | haibun



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