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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 12: March 2022
Haibun: 215 words
By Keith Polette

Axis Mundi


Is the wavy grain of ash all that I will remember of the tree that shaded me for so long? I should have seen the signs of blight, the leaves patched with black, fluttering like pirate sails. And later, the leaves falling out of season like fake money dropped from a helicopter at a country carnival. I should have cleaved decaying branches and patched each exposed stump, should have applied the balm of mulch and water, should have sung the songs of healing.

distracted days
the failing tree farm
inside me

What remains is a thick trunk muscled over by wind, lying on the ground, immobile as a whale on a beach. With chainsaw in hand, I set to work. It takes three days to pare two decades of bird-perch and samara-fruit, of squirrel-course and wind-sieve, down to rough wood ready to mill. I plane the timber into planks and set them to rest on barn shelves where their green can slowly go to gray. And when the time is right, I will work the wood into table and chair and place them by the kitchen window where I can watch a sapling grow through new seasons of light.

cold sweat
the rumble of logging trucks
in my dreams

Keith Polette
Issue 12, March 2022

lives and writes in El Paso, Texas. He is the author of a book of haiku, The New World (Red Moon Press, 2017), and a collection of haibun, Pilgrimage (Red Moon Press, 2020).

His photo-haiku have appeared in Daily Haiga and Under the Basho, and his haibun in Akitsu Quarterly, Chrysanthemum, contemporary haibun online, Drifting Sands Haibun, Frogpond, The Haibun Journal, Haibun Today, The Other Bunny, Presence, Prune Juice, and Sonic Boom.

His poetry has been published in numerous venues, including The Esthetic Apostle, Eunoia Review, The Limberlost Review, One Sentence Poems, Orphic Lute, Otoliths, The Offbeat, the Peeking Cat Anthology, The Piedmont Literary Review, Rendezvous, Samisdat, Sky Island Journal, Sonic Boom, Shot Glass Review, and Typishly.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Pilgrimage, haibun by Keith Polette in contemporary haibun online (16:2, August 2020)

[abandoned diner], photo-haiku in Daily Haiga (16 October 2018).

[rooted in ice], photo-haiku in Daily Haiga (29 October 2017).

[woodshop], photo-haiku in Daily Haiga (6 January 2020).

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