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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 1: January 2020
Haibun: 211 words
By Claire Everett

The Refuge


dewfall berries...
my breasts remember
the let-down reflex

“It seems like another life,” I tell myself.

“That’s because it was.”

Today I thought about Dreamer. She had already written her happy ever after. She was known for her coy smile and the five-year planner that she tucked under her arm in the way a hen might shelter her brood. No one knows what became of her, but the word at the time was, she followed her finger right off the map.

Then Blue. The hip bones of a memory. How she wore long-sleeved, baggy sweaters even in the height of summer. She’d stand in front of the open refrigerator like a wraith between worlds, scanning labels that never bore her name, her illuminated complexion a lunar maria of untold stories.

So many, come and gone. And the dark days when there was a veritable cacophony at the door and a shadow on the heels of every echo. That was when I welcomed the deadbolt.

There was the one that showed up in the clothes she stood up in, five children in tow and two beloved cats that couldn’t be housed. She didn’t stay long enough to get a name.

All Hallow’s Eve...
some pills to take
my milk away

Claire Everett
Issue 1, January 2020

is the author of two tanka collections, twelve moons and The Small, Wild Places; and co-author of Hagstones: A Tanka Journey with Joy McCall, and Talking in Tandem with her husband, Tony Everett. In 2017, Claire joined the editorial panel for the Red Moon Anthology. She served on the editorial team for Take Five Best Contemporary Tanka (Volume 4, 2011), and in 2015 she edited the Tanka Society of America’s Members’ Anthology, Spent Blossoms. She served as tanka-prose editor for Haibun Today [from December 2011 thru September 2016], and as founding editor of Skylark Publishing and Skylark: the journal [from the inaugural issue in April 2013 thru the final issue, Summer 2019].

Claire is mum to five children and step-mum to two and likes nothing better than to be cycling through the Dales with Tony on their trusty tandem Tallulah, or walking on the North Yorkshire Moors.

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