Sudden Shower on the Great Bridge. Hiroshige and Van Gogh.

Sudden Shower on the Great Bridge. Hiroshige/Van Gogh. Wikimedia.

Acid churned in the pit of my stomach. 

What to expect?

Cousin Sharon* had healed – physically – after the accident.  Mentally, she had gotten worse.  Before the accident she had loved her kitten, Tiger, and she’d wanted to be a veterinarian.  After the accident, she kicked Tiger and was terrified of animals of any sort.  

dull eyes
in a pharmaceutical glaze –
with clenched fists

They sent her to Brook Lane – for her safety, for her family’s safety.  And after much discussion it was decided that my brother and I should visit – in a controlled environment.  It would be good for her.  So we planned to meet her in a cheerful, brightly lit communal recreation room. 

Sharon had taken up billiards.

motes of dust
sliced by sunlight –
yellow chaos  

Well.  I can’t shoot pool worth crap.  My brother, however, is a wizard.  Competitive too.  And Sharon didn’t appreciate the competition.  What should have been a friendly rivalry between cousins took on a dangerous chill when Sharon – six feet tall, close to two hundred pounds – gripped the cue stick so tightly that it squeaked. 

She missed, and there was fury in her eyes. 

And during this game, “November Rain” was blaring on the radio.  The slow part was over – “Slash’s” guitar was screaming – and an icy fear crept over my body.    

Wisely, my brother flubbed his turn.

no shelter –
five hundred years of rain
in six months  

If you skip to 7:10 you’ll hear the part of the song mentioned in the haibun.

Don’t you think that you need somebody?
Don’t you think that you need someone?
Everybody needs someone.
You’re not the only one.
You’re not the only one.

Vincent Van Gogh.  Langlois Bridge at Arles with Women Washing, 1888. Wikimedia.

Vincent Van Gogh. Langlois Bridge, 1888. Wikimedia.

Linked to Carpe Diem Time Machine #4: Yellow, where we are revisiting November 2012.  For this episode, Vincent Van Gogh’s “Langlois Bridge at Arles with Women Washing” is our inspiration. 

Sorry, I wanted this to be a haiku or tanka response — but the haibun kept calling.   


10 thoughts on “no shelter (haibun)

  1. Wow you really have started to make haibun a vehicle for every form of personal expression – from playful fantasy to painful biography. It’s really impressive to see you stretching the form in so many different directions.

    But your cousin is no better? How awful. Our personality hangs by such a slender thread – we never realise.


    • No – not any better, sadly. Tragically. After all these years – every small victory is matched by a heartache. We are so fragile – all of us -!

      Yes — really exploring haibun — pushing it, with this one! And I’ve been quite neglectful lately in adding new haibun! Will have to remedy that. 🙂

      Thanks Blake 🙂


  2. Oh my what an experience … both scary and tragic … I wasn’t sure if it was imaginary or not until I read the comments … so very very tragic, how cruel life can be at times.


    • Yes … so cruel. She would have been a great veterinarian. Her whole personality was shaken to the core though. She’s finally holding down a job – mostly. But the anger-outwards has morphed into an anger-inwards – with terrible consequences.


    • Thanks Janice —
      We’ve been waiting, but it’s been almost 20 years. She never fully recovered. And so many roller coasters as she’s fought and fought and fought those inner demons.


  3. A person in depression can be reacting contrary to expectations. It can be mysterious and dangerous. Your brother’s decision was sane and timely. A wonderful whiff of freshness with a haibun, Jen!



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