2nd Place Haiku Story Award
as judged by
Dr. David Lanoue
Robert sang along to an old country song as he drove along the old country road. The headlights illuminated the blowing snowflakes as he sped along, eager to return home. During his visit with his writing group, he successfully wrote a few haiku that he could happily say he was proud of; he was excited to return home to his love, Emily, and show her his completed work. Over the years they had grown apart with age, but the one thing they had in common was their passion for all forms of poetry, and teaching it to their young daughter. Lately their newest interest was the art of haiku. When the radio went silent, he began to recite a few of his favorite lines he had read the night before, a specific haiku that reminded him of his daughter:
He smiled at the thought of being able to scoop his five year old daughter, Lexi, into his arms in a matter of minutes. She always laughed and laughed as he tickled her when he would return home after a day at work. He pushed the gas pedal harder with his desire to get home more quickly. The car went faster and faster as the snow began to fall harder and harder. With the windshield wipers going as fast as they could, Robert squinted into the distance to try and see the road ahead of them. At the sight of a large deer, he gasped and tried to steer around it—but soon, the snowflakes weren’t the only thing spiraling out of control…
the icy road
a car spirals
In the intensive care unit it is very loud and hectic, a huge jumble of voices and strange sounds. Doctors are yelling orders and gurnees are rolling as waiting patients are complaining for help and heart monitors are beeping, some steady and some out of control. Robert fades in and out of consciousness; he knows he doesn’t have much time. He can see Emily enter the room and begin screaming, reaching out for him, but there are men holding her back as she begins to cry hysterically. Robert tries to speak but his whole body aches, and he feels like his body is being pulled away as the room fades…
I wish I could tell you…
heart monitor flatlines
In the big church that Mommy always makes me dress really fancy in, all the people are wearing black and I don’t know why ‘cause usually they’re dressed really bright and smiley. But not today. Today everyone is crying and even the women’s faces are black, probably ‘cause their makeup which Mommy says I can’t wear ‘cause I’m not old enough. But she doesn’t know I still do sometimes. She told me to stay sitting in the back pew with Tommy, the kid who lives down the street, but he smells funny and I just want to be with my mom. I push my way through the crowd when I see Mommy! She’s standing by a wooden box thing at the front of the church, and I can see the big guy who gives boring speeches standing next to her. I run up to her to tell her how horrible Tommy smells when I look in the box and…
this wooden box
why won’t he wake up?
After so many years, Lexi was still haunted by the last image she had of her father. Looking back, she felt that the day of his funeral was the last day of her childhood. From that point on, she had to be the grown up for her mother, who spent the majority of her days laying in bed, surrounded by tissues and chocolate bars. She had to be strong for her mother--the only remaining family she had left.
taken too soon
At age twenty-four, she came across a worn, leather-bound journal. The pages were filled with her father's handwriting--journal entries, haiku, and plenty of scribbles. After hours of pouring over his creative works, she felt that this was her one connection that she still had left to her father. She could feel the emotions he felt in his writing; she felt a bond with him. Realizing that haiku was one of his biggest passions in life, she knew what she should do. For what would have been his fifty second birthday, she got a collection of his best haiku published--a dream, she knew, he would have loved to have fulfilled.
breath long gone