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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Haibun Story: 174 words [R]
By Glenn G. Coats

Jackie Boy


He is drawn to gravel and dust, the rumble and rattle of passing trains, photos in discarded magazines, and hawks on wires. The boy perches on rocks that jut into the current, studies insects dropping from branches, and the flash and dart of silver sides.

The child grubs under moss and rotted wood for thin red worms, salamanders with yellow spots, and pounces on grasshoppers that land in brush. He threads creatures on small hooks, flicks them with his rod into the dark and light water.

When the sticks have burnt to coals, he heats water in rusted cans, poaches chub and small trout, sucks meat from bone that tastes of blood from a wound.

Strips in the heat of day, slips and slides down a clay bank into a deep pool where cattle come to cool and drink until dusk rings like a bell and the boy dresses and runs home. “Even after a bath,” his mother will say, “my son still smells of river.”

sun-bleached bone
the way darkness settles
into stone

—Published previously in Haibun Today (September 2017); appears here with author’s permission.

Glenn G. Coats
Issue 1, January 2020

lives with his wife, Joan, in Carolina Shores, North Carolina, where they enjoy exploring the nearby waterways. His poetry collection about children who struggle with reading and writing, Trying to Move Mountains, was published by the Reading Recovery Council of North America. His writing has been nominated three times for the Pushcart and has been published in a number of magazines and journals including Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, The Heron’s Nest, Acorn, Frogpond, and KYSO Flash, among others. Glenn is the author of four haibun collections: Degrees of Acquaintance (Snapshot Press 2019); Waking and Dream (Red Moon Press); and from Pineola Press, Snow on the Lake and Beyond the Muted Trees. In addition to writing, he enjoys playing guitar with his children as well as in the band Chicken Bog.

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