Spectacle {a haibun}

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[Photo by Ganeshrg, Wikimedia Commons]

When dragonflies swarm, people stop what they are doing and watch. They call their friends over. They take photos of themselves surrounded by a blur of wings.

This is what happened one day at work.

You couldn’t walk outside without bumping into them. For twenty minutes, all anyone could talk about with any passion was a gathering of dragonflies.

Even people who bolt outside every day with their mind on cellphones or cigarettes or any number of urgencies, even the distracted and the burdened, were compelled to observe.

I sat at my desk watching the dragonfly watchers. I had noticed the creatures days ago when there were only one or two. My desk has a window view.

No one paid them any attention back then, when they were so small in number.

Two dragonflies sew
the seams of clouds, moving slow
across my window

The Stone Tree

My naked feet pressed the wet blades flat and smooth. Grass is always coldest in the shadow of the Stone Tree. I dreamt about her. Mother told us that anyone who cut that tree would find a treasure inside.

Last night I was a sparrow circling above the forest. I caught a bright flash of white and silver like starlight. I knew I could find that place again in the morning.

After lessons, I drew a picture of her. Her bright limbs reaching for me through thick gray clouds. I wept because I could never be certain that those arms would be able to reach me here in the darkest part of the world.

When I found her, I lay down in the soft moss beside her and slept.

These memories were left here with the trees.

{Some short fiction for the dVerse Prosery prompt. 

It’s meant to encourage poetry writers to try some fiction.  I don’t think fiction is my cup of tea, but the prompts are meant to expand our creativity by taking us outside of our comfort zones.

This prompt asked us to incorporate a line of poetry: “These memories were left here with the trees.” It is taken from a poem by the new US poet laureate, Joy Harjo. Her complete poem is here.

You are only given a few days to write it. Most people write theirs on the first day of the prompt! I like to revise what I write a few times before I post… and after I post… and three years later… I am always revising what I write. I see what’s missing and I add it (or not), especially with fiction.

Poetry is a little different. Because a poem is such a small piece of writing, I usually get the sense that it is complete.  

To be honest, I am certain that I am a poet, not a fiction writer. But these short fiction prompts can be fun to try, and maybe they will help me to develop as a poet too.

I got the idea for the piece of fiction above from a poem I wrote the other day. The prompt asked us to write in prose, so I turned my poem into a piece of short fiction.

I think the poem I wrote also deserves to see the light of day… so I will share it:

The Stone Tree

It’s been so long.
My insides–
like the trees
of ancient times–
are petrified.

I can count
ring upon ring
upon ring,
of gold, but I
am not that old.

No spirit will call
my bone white branches home,
or chew my silver leaves
When I weep, even
when I sigh,

always the smallest,
nearest creatures die,
and, unlike my evergreen
memory, decompose.

Intention

warm, muted light
a quiet evening
a chance to read
the words of poets,
the soft weight of a book
in my hand,
to feel with intention,
a time for order
and safety to roam
as if earth were a memory
and mind a home

{I never did get to read that evening.

I wrote this poem.

As soon as I typed it upĀ in WordPress, the app glitched.

I panicked.

Unfortunately, the rest of that beautiful evening in August was spent chatting with tech support.

And it turned out that all I needed to do was uninstall and reinstall the app.}