Posts Tagged ‘Crown of Thorns’

Haibun: The Mermaid

June 1, 2018


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  siblings carrying water to both.

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 with her fist, stomped it flat.

Five decades later, I made that same mermaid, (I hadn’t progressed far with clay,) but this time, I glazed her shiny, 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.
Child’s salvation

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2018

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