Haibun in the Modern English-Language Style by Ray Rasmussen
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Clearing Out the Office
Edmonton, March 1, 2002

My last day at work. Files dumped into recycle bins; books sent to the library; the computer erased, ready for the next occupant.

The plants have not fared well. Into the wastebasket go the remains of the Crown of Thorns—a friend’s gift when I took over as Department Chair. It likely died during one of those interminable meetings where egos reign and little is accomplished.

Mementoes cover one wall. A cartoon drawn by an artist friend shows humans and animals at a round table. Ah, those heady days when I thought environmental issues could be solved by bringing all the parties together: oil men, foresters and ranchers; indigenous peoples, hunters and environmentalists. One new park and one hundred failures.

There are a number of teaching awards. On occasion I run into a middle-aged stranger who holds out a hand and says, “You probably don’t remember me, but I had you for a class when I was at university.” I’m touched by these unexpected meetings and say, “I hope the class did you some good.”

In a photo, my wife and two young daughters smile with arms entwined. The ensuing teen years and drugs wreaked considerable damage. Perhaps they will once again embrace one another.

I look out the window, the sun bright on spring's greenery, the jingle of RV keys in my pocket, the fishing gear packed.

a long winter—
yet how quickly
the snow melts

Forthcoming in Simply Haiku