I'm a poet and writer living for the past six years in the South Jersey shore area. I moved here from North Jersey in 2009 after the 2008 death of my husband William J. (Bill) Higginson, author of The Haiku Handbook, to be closer to my daughter and family. I'm a mom, grandma, and sometimes poet-teacher for the NJSCA. My work has appeared in many journals, and in twenty-some books (including chapbooks). I read at the Dodge Festival in 2010, and have enjoyed two poetry residencies at VCCA (January 2011; March 2015). Please visit my website:www.2hweb.net/penhart and my blog: http://penhart.wordpress.com
Editor's Note: In her submission email to me, Penny wrote: "[These are] pieces I reworked from regular free-verse into haibun, hoping that the addition of the haibun would illuminate and open up the previous versions. Of course, as I'm sure you know, [I didn't!] the haiku should not directly continue the narrative but relate / link in mood or theme, opening the poem up into further dimensions. I worked on these during my time at VCCA. Hope you enjoy." [I do!]
Restaurant, This Way
The small town restaurant waits, its roadside sign a signal in the dusk. Stainless knives, forks, and spoons, their finish dulled from everyday use, grace red plastic placements on the scarred wooden tables where a waitress lights the candles. Finished, she walks to the front windows, to search a darkening sky for the first star; she has not used up all her wishes yet.
following the taillights
of a distant car
From behind the swinging kitchen doors the scent of homemade chicken soup eddies around the old wooden chairs, their backs and seats curved to fit the human form. Chairs that remember generations of family dinners, the weight of booster seats for babies, and the occasional stranger, the one just passing through, who, hungry, and tired of plastic food, is lured off the highway by a hand-painted sign with an faded arrow underneath the words: Restaurant, This Way.
by the train tracks—
dust on the crystal
Once I hung a dream-catcher over my daughter’s bed to trap the nightmares plaguing her. The next morning, I opened the window and shook it out. Redeemed monsters flapped into the trees, laughing.
dead wren under
the throw rug—small gift
from the grateful cat
My aging mother dreamed an angel’s giant hand hovered above her bed, protecting her from harm. She could see it clear as day, she told us, and the next night her dead mother visited her.
stained glass window—
a rainbow shimmers on
the chapel pew
After the accident, on his deathbed Grandpa was young again, working with his brothers to restore a car. I kept vigil beside him, watching his hands at work, listening to his side of their conversation.
ear pressed against
the door, the child listens—
New Year’s Eve
Two hawks circle far above, afternoon sunlight gilding their wings as their shadows swiftly cross
the road before me.
In red canyons of the West, ravens ride the thermals, their harsh calls dark as the storm clouds shadowing the ridges.
again that dream
of refuge in a cave
above the river
There is no other place but here where hawks still prey on the living, ravens descend on the dead, and the clock on the wall keeps time above a granite counter-top, its polished surface chilled by mountain winds.
A gas burner spurts blue, steam hisses from the kettle, and between my palms a cup of black tea deepens as my breath rises warm through the strata of the sky.
nursing, the baby
from her lips
©2015 Penny Harter