| Return to Index of Writers |


Debra Woolard Bender
Saturday, January 5, 2002

Matching my usual holiday mood, this January chill in Florida. Coat weather. I have a second-hand rabbit fur jacket -- meant to turn it into a pillow. My granddaughter, spending the night, nods beneath the patchwork skins. Side-by-side in my bed, she, reading old books; me, trying to write a new one for children. From a reworked poem...

the monster in my closet
what does it wear in winter
I wonder?

Across white jet-print paper, line after ink-line scratched out. Tired, I turn out the light. She's too big for scary stuff, I think. Maybe not. At ten years old, she'd still rather snuggle next to me than be alone in one of the spare bedrooms. She’s asleep, eyes drifting slowly, side-to-side, beneath the lids. Staring into the dark, how dark, dark is. I put my arm around her. Cocooned in sheets, a heavy comforter holds our body heat. When I awaken in the morning, husband is beside me. Granddaughter’s in a spare bedroom. Dog's on the bed at her feet. The two share a lot of the same personality traits. We call the dog her canine sister. We brought the part-Irish Setter home from the Humane Society and they've been close ever since. Granddaughter, back then was about two years old; the dog, also. Both abandoned. The little girl by her father. The dog by her family.

growing up
mother and child together
a missing sock

We go shopping after lunch, young granddaughter and I, at one of our favorite haunts. A local thrift store. My bargains: a book of Kipling's Verse (selections by T.S. Eliot), and "Lon Po Po", the picture-book translation of a Chinese "Little Red Riding Hood" tale. In perfect condition, both for less than five dollars. And two bakelite bracelets from the 1950’s which I'll sell someday through an on-line auction. Granddaughter tries on high heels (three inches of clear lucite) then puts back the "definite maybes" she's carted around for over an hour. Her bargains: a blue rocaille bead necklace, seventy cents. Yellow plastic canteen, two dollars. The plastic sipper-cup, fifty cents. Pink-tagged items half-price. Nearing the cash register, she decides against the baby-carrier she’d chosen for her Christmas dolls. "Polka dots" she explains. Maybe I'll go back for it tomorrow. She doesn't want to overspend grandma's purse.

empty pocket
for a few candy wrappers
and our hands

Debra Woolard Bender is Editor of the World Haiku Review.