A haibun on a childhood experience for Dverse poetics
I’m nine years old and I’ve been down to the shop for Mum, dawdling a bit longer than I should have. Now it’s getting dark, and I have a couple of blocks to walk before I get home. But these streets are familiar and lights are coming on in the houses around me. A car pulls over to the pavement a little further up the road, where the shadows are deep from a high wooden fence. The engine is running, and someone in the back seat opens a door so that it’s partly across the footpath. My steps slow, and I’m uneasy about what is happening. But I’m a good sprinter, so I suddenly take to my heels and race across to the other side of the road. The car door slams, and it starts to do a sudden turn. Fear lends wings to my heels. I’m not far from home and I run faster than I’ve ever run before. My heart is in overdrive.
I arrive panting into our warm bright kitchen and try to tell my mother what happened, but she’s busy and not really listening. I just know that I have avoided something black, something that will always be there, somewhere at the back of my mind…
of long winter nights