(Actual portrait of Ol’ Mrs. Hoephner above)
I understand that Haibun Monday is open all week at Dverse??? Oh, goodie!
I am new to haibun, but so much in love with this form! A dear friend and poet, Steve Issak, in California with numerous poetry books published, has written for years in this form, and I never picked up how wonderful it is.
“The Mermaid” pestered me at 2am to write her ‘live’ and I could barely see the keyboard, but this grievance has been deep inside since second grade. May my tormentor find her bench in Hell and be stuck to it!
Lady Nyo….I’ve never told this story to anyone. Now you, dear reader, are the first to know.
The ‘50’s was a time of Mickie Mantle vs. Marilyn Monroe, Better Red than Dead, or Dead than Red, confusing for children as we didn’t understand ‘why’ we were to change color. The ‘50’s was surviving the drunken kindness of a father and the sober malice of a mother, with all of us siblings carrying water to both sides.
Second grade and I remember tall windows that cranked out at chest height but only the teacher was allowed to touch the crank and the smell of ages: mold, asbestos and lead paint was a constant in our tender lives.
I remember being given a small lump of grey/green clay for ‘arts and crafts’. I remember the mermaid I molded: rolled clay for hair and arms, perky breasts, a split tail. I used my fingernail to make scales. I remember old Mrs. Hoephner coming down the aisle, her knarled hands balled into fists, her grimace, her white hair floating like a wrath around her head and she saw my mermaid and stomped it flat with her fist.
Five decades later, I made that same mermaid, (I hadn’t progressed far with clay,) but this time, I glazed her shiny and she visited the fire and I gave her a crown of thorns. Again, I saw old Mrs. Hoephner, crabby old woman long dead, coming to my desk and Thump This, you old bat, you destroyer of a child’s imagination and you will be wearing that crown of thorns.
Such a fragile thing.