Haibun in the Modern English-Language Style by Ray Rasmussen
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How is it ...

I hear her voice from time to time on the answering service--a call directed to our daughter. Like a remembered song, her rhythms and tone mirror the strong words uttered during our divorce proceedings. What's not brought to mind are memories of walking together, of shared meals over talk of children and work, of trips taken together, of love making. Instead, there's this ducking away from the phone, the need to escape.

Today, I pick up the receiver thinking the ring was on my line, and hear her voice directly for the first time in two years, asking for our daughter.

"Not home," I say.

"Oh," she says, and after some silence, "My mother has had a fall. It's serious. I wanted her to know."

Silence again ... then, "Why not call back and leave your message. She'll be in later."

How is it that after 25 years together I have no words to share? How can I have failed even to offer commiseration about her mother with whom I spent so many family meals and holidays--this woman who said at our wedding, "I always wanted a son. Now I have one."

November chill
the hammock filled
with leaves

Second Place in Moonset Haibun Competition, Moonset