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  • Writer's picturePenny Harter


I'm posting this haibun out of chronological order. I wrote it early in the pandemic time but didn't post it then. It will be published in Harpy-Hybrid Review. It's kind of surreal. Hope you enjoy. About Loss

Recycled loss composts this garden. Loss of everything dear you’ve treasured since childhood: your tin shovel the sandbox swallowed. The mewing kitten your mother rescued from the white line. The dog a car found. The feel of your grandmother’s hair and that silver bracelet she gave you that your little sister pulled from your wrist when you saved her from drowning in a big wave. The kite that flew away to Neverland. And that’s just the beginning.

first look

through the wrong end

of the telescope

Look at the strata in that wall of rock? What got lost there? Floods and earthquakes, and the dinosaur whose footprints wander still, trapped for rockternity.

So what is growing in that composting soil, watered by the futile tears you’ve shed over the years as treasured things and even loved ones have gone under? Your wrinkled hands are still here, still able to grasp and let go. Sift that soil, let it dribble through the spaces between your fingers, raise it to the wind of your breath

after the party

a flock of helium balloons

in the backyard trees

Your father’s gold pocket watch has been sprouting hands all over the place. Grab a few and learn the art of transformation. All your losses have recycled into dirt, and from that dirt a springing forth will rise, persistent like persistent bulbs that push up to reveal themselves again and again in all their transient beauty.

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