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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 2: March 2020
Haibun Story: 134 words
By Jonathan Humphrey

A Tennessee Stock Pond, Transfigured


The moon rests in the pond, so naturally you dive into its lap. To your surprise, the water is a tepid cream, a submerged ballroom with ornate molding and the busts of bluegill. And all the dead are dancing there, in ivory frocks and lace scarves. The men tapping canes of river birch that never fully peel. The women laughing like water gurgled in a crawfish hole. (You might see Wordsworth. You brush against a queen.) Suddenly the ceiling stirs in the wake of startled geese. Panic. Hysteria. You feel your lungs fill. You see the algae spreading towards you like green fire, an all-consuming flame. You are given to its swirls, its patterns. And to its final quiet. A nothing. A sweet nothing.

already the tadpole’s

—The haiku (“Vivaldi”) first appeared in Modern Haiku (Issue 51:1, Winter 2020).

Jonathan Humphrey’s
Issue 2, March 2020

work has recently appeared in Acorn, Contemporary Haibun, Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, and Modern Haiku. He is the author of a collection of haiku and haibun, How to Disassemble Your Father’s Ghost (Kattywompus Press, 2017), and his haibun story of the same name is anthologized in The Best Small Fictions 2015. With a fondness for whiskey and whippoorwills, he divides his time between the lights of Nashville and the woods of his native Kentucky.

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