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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Haibun Story: 205 words
By Peter Newton

Modern Gothic


A. texted to mention that B. might not have told me but his sister C. shot and killed herself last night. Everyone always thought it would be C.’s husband, D., but no it was C., A. was sure. And C. was the one who cared for everyone including B. and C.’s mother E. survived by her only sister F., who was always called Sweet Pea on account of F. being a bit slow, soft-spoken and kind, never wanting to stray too far from the family homestead which is where E. took care of her for decades and, eventually, where E. passed away. C. took over after that.

“No burden, at all,” C. said, referring to Sweet Pea. “She’s the brightest person I know. Never a care, not a worry. Why should anyone mind,” C. said.

And everyone thought about it and knew C. was right. Now, with C. gone all people can think to ask is, who’s gonna look out for Sweet Pea? It’s a tangle for sure. Not the alphabet we grew up with. Poor Sweet Pea. And Poor C., who couldn’t see any other way but right through the heart.

paper birch
shedding stories
for anyone to tell

Peter Newton
Issue 14, August 2022

lives in Vermont where he works as a full-time stained glass artist. He is the author of several books in the Japanese short form tradition including What We Find (haiku); Welcome to the Joy Ride (haibun), which won a 2014 Merit Book Award for the Best Book of Haibun from the Haiku Society of America; A Path of Desire (tan renga with Kathe L. Palka); The Searchable World (haiku), which won First Place in the 2018 Merit Book Awards from the Haiku Society of America; Part-Time Gods (haibun), winner of the Snapshot Press eChapbook Award for haibun in 2021; and Glide Path (haiku), due to be published in 2022.

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