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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 17: 29 Jan. 2023
Haibun Story: 202 words
By Charmaine Smith

River Music


The Lovers crossing The Star, with the Knight of Cups attending. The moon rises to full, whispering of loss and revelation as Grandmother reads the cards. Firelight flickers at the gypsy wagons in the clearing down by the river, guitar and fiddle music riding the breeze uphill. Now and then, a flash of red fabric and a rousing cry. Invited, we walk down from our little cottage and dance until I beg to be tucked into my pallet in our loft. Later, quiet footsteps in the garden....

In the morning, Grandmother twirls me around while she makes buttered crepes, humming and giggling at some wonderful secret joke. “Aren’t these the best crepes we’ve had all year, Jacques?” I nod between mouthfuls. Afterward, I walk to the village to trade, with a bag of turnips slung over my shoulder, two blue scarves, and three trout tied to a line the way Grandfather always did it—infinite wealth! I whistle a tune from the river and tuck sprigs of parsley into my pockets as I go. I sniff the air and smile: The very wind is dancing. Something good has come.

among the cabbages
still soaked with last night’s sweat—
Grandmother’s earring

Charmaine Smith
Issue 17 (29 January 2023)

lives in central coast California with her boyfriend, where she writes poetry, short fiction, and essays. She is especially taken with the cherita, cheribun, and haibun forms and is very happy to have met the cheribun through MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge. Her work was recently nominated for Best of the Net and Best Spiritual Literature, and her traditional sonnet “Silent Running” won second place in the 2022 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest. Her flash fiction has appeared in the Quantum Shorts competition, where it was shortlisted. In addition to MacQueen’s Quinterly, her poetry has appeared in Better Than Starbucks, in time machines bound for the Mesozoic era, and on the undersides of various picnic tables.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Cheribun of the Infinite Remainder by Charmaine Smith, First Place Winner of MacQ’s Cheribun Challenge, MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 12, March 2022)

Powers of Observation, flash fiction by Ms. Smith which was short-listed for Quantum Shorts 2021 (alternating annual calls for science fiction and science films since 2012, organized by the Centre for Quantum Technologies)

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