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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Haibun Story: 185 words
By Rich Youmans

Living Color


Baker. Grocer. The boy sits on his front stoop, flipping through his coloring book. Page after page of blank outlines—smiling faces, oversized hands holding some clue to what they do: a cake, a basket of vegetables. He turns the page. Bus driver. Soon the 53 will pull up to the corner and his mother will lower herself to the curb. She’ll trudge up the street, passing the telephone poles one by one, her ankles swollen after hours on her feet. Florist, a bouquet of roses. Sometimes the boy pictures his mother bouncing off the bus and a man following her—tall, rugged, with the same blue eyes he sees in the mirror. Whenever he asks about his father, though, his mother just shakes her head. He flips another page. Firefighter. Maybe his father runs into burning buildings, rescues children and babies. Lawyer. Maybe he defends the innocent, sends the wicked to jail. Doctor. Or maybe he saves lives, those blue eyes examining each wound, knowing just how it hurts and how it can heal.

latchkey kid     the brightest crayons worn to stubs

Rich Youmans
Issue 6, January 2021

has been writing haiku, haibun, and related essays for 35 years and wonders where the time went. His most recent chapbook, Head-On: Haibun Stories (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2018), received an honorable mention in the Haibun category of the Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards. He is currently the editor in chief of contemporary haibun online and lives on Cape Cod with his wife, Alice.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

What’s Left Unsaid: Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory & Harriot West’s “Empty Spaces” in contemporary haibun online (16:3)

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