KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 3: Spring 2015
Haibun: 277 words


by Charles Hansmann

A neighbor has taken a bus trip Out West, and for not saying No I put up with the squawk. “In for it now,” her bird keeps saying with prophetic inflection, and I jot it down. I am keeping a journal of cockatiel wit, and not just for amusement. I think it will show how easy it is to find meaning where none is intended.

lit room, the window
looking back into it

I get a postcard from the cockatiel’s owner, a textured drawing of a pepper tree with dark red berries traditionally used for toothache and wounds, depression and pest control. On the verso she has written in gothic script: “Tucson, Arizona – 101 at 1:01.”

clouds piling
the darkened puddle

She signed it The Searcher, with Irma in parentheses. I know she believes that the world is encoded, has a message for anyone privy to its signs—but she didn’t have to travel so far for such paltry coincidence. Early last week my former bank’s electronic billboard showed 92 degrees at 9:20. I took this in stride, hardly worth noting, but a man at the bus stop asked if I believe things happen for a reason. He started opening vials and pouring his pills to the frying-pan sidewalk. “Because if they don’t,” he said, “then why do they?”

loud rain brightening
the far-off thunder

For camouflage, I think, as I glance through the cage at the outback plumage. The bird’s feathers are gray, clipped at the wing and pearled in a pattern that looks like marble. “In for it now,” the bird says again, and I find a dark towel to drape over its cage.

See also Author Commentaries on Haibun Stories.

Charles Hansmann
Issue 3, Spring 2015

has recent fiction in Crack the Spine and Star 82 Review. He’s the author of five poetry chapbooks, most recently Apostasy of the Wayless Poet (Tebot Bach, 2013) and Poem of the Ahead Places (Kattywompus, 2013). His haibun and haiku have appeared in numerous haikai magazines and anthologies. A native of rural Wisconsin, he lives with his wife in Sea Cliff, New York.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Haibunesque, 3700-word article by Hansmann on working prose into lineated poetry for his chapbook of linear poems, The Loneliness Jacket; includes five poems and appears in Haibun Today (Volume 5, Number 2, June 2011)

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