Haibun Kukai 2 • Global Haiku, Spring 2017

I remember when I was younger I would always be at my grandparents' house. Tuesdays and Thursdays my parents both worked late hours so they would pick me up from school. I just remember going outside and playing in the garden and having so much fun. Often times I would see my grandpa's shoes on the ground and try them on because I was too lazy to actually get my own. Sadly, I did not fit in them very well. They were basically clown shoes for me at that age.

Grandpa's slippers
slipping off my feet
in the backyard

As a young girl, I would always go fishing with my dad in Wisconsin. He went fishing and I would play next to the river. I tossed rocks and walked around in the forest. Swede takes me back to the days where my dad and I still went fishing together as a family. I look back at my past and I remember this image of myself in the water. The image is of a young girl and that was me. While now I'm all grown up and those times are just memories. Memories that I'll cherish forever. The simple moments of skipping rocks and getting excited when my dad caught a fish. It just reminds me of the tiny things of life that I cherished as a young girl and now.

toppling down
fallen leaves
touch the cool water

When my brother and I were younger we would get in the gator at my grandparents' house and head to the pond down the street. We would bounce around in the back so grandma would always put the cushions from the chairs in the back so we wouldn't get hurt. Once we got to the pond we would sit in the back and hold our rods out over the pond. Papa always used worms for bait and he wouldn't let us fish unless we baited the hook ourselves. Papa is sitting in his chair next to us and we all are holding our fishing poles in the water occasionally pulling it out and putting a new worm on the hook.

throw it in the water
grab a chair
. . . wait

I used to go fishing every summer with my dad and younger brother. It was an event I always looked forward to. I remember one particular time when we fished near a dam on the Kankakee River. It took a little while for us to catch fish, and I remember I found it difficult to tell if I got a bite or if the current, algae, or weight on my line were pulling my rod along. This gave us all a chance to talk and enjoy one another's company. I can clearly see the water gushing down from the dam and into the river. I can smell the water bubbling and foaming and the dirt from the worms we used for bait. It was hot, but being close to the water and shaded by trees made it a few degrees cooler. When we finally did catch fish, it was back to our typical competition to see who could get the most. I don't remember who won that day, because it doesn't really matter. What does matter is the time I spent with my family. I always loved fishing.

slight tug on the line
reeling in the
disappointment of algae

It started off lovely. He would bring her flowers before every date. She would blush while taking them and put them in a vase on the counter. Eventually, they grew bored of each other. She started putting in all the effort for their relationship and after a while, she no longer wanted to be with him. The adventure of courtship was ruined the day they got married. One afternoon, while she is in the car, she sees a field of flowers that look exactly like the ones her ex-husband had brought her on their first date.

walking alone
I smell her perfume
in the flowers

It's a brisk winter Sunday morning and my best friend has just picked me up to go on one of our classic Sunday brunch adventures. This particular day we decide to trek to the cemetery. We go probably once every two weeks whenever we want to just hang together just us. It's a quiet time for us to reflect and gain perspective. It is morbid to drive around a cemetery just to reflect on the week, but seeing and analyzing graves surprisingly does a great job of grounding us wiley twenty year olds. We are on our normal drive and I always make it a point to read as many headstones as possible. There are so many souls and people in that chunk of land, so I always feel like it's my duty to learn as much about them as possible. There are so many details that often go unnoticed. When we first started going there we just focused on the spooky facts, but now we focus on the headstones and mausoleums that often get glossed over just because they don't have a haunted story attached. We love to analyze and try and speculate on as many lives as possible just to open up our minds and broaden our horizons as much as possible. While cemeteries are there for us to respect the deceased, I think they are also there for us to learn.

long windy roads
cliffs and hills overlook
the past

September 22nd 2014. It was my grandfather's funeral. I remember barely getting out of bed because it was hard to.Iit was hard to do anything, really. My family and I had to pick up my grandmother to go to the funeral. The car ride there was quiet and somber. We quietly went inside and waited for my grandmother to get ready. I remember sitting on the stool in the kitchen and watching my mother and my grandmother talk about what she was going to wear. My mom was irritated and just wanted to leave because she did not want to be late. My dad's hands on my shoulders while he was standing behind me. We were watching my mother telling what my grandmother needs to do. It was a long time waiting for my grandmother to get ready. I remember sitting next to my sister, and remembering the times when we visited grandpa because he absolutely loved it when we visited him. I remember looking at my sister and thinking that this is depressing because we can't see him anymore when we go to grandma's. When my grandmother was finally ready to go, my sister and I were standing next to her. My grandmother gave us a long hug and said the simplest words to us, “this hurts, I miss him so much” and she started crying. I felt my throat tightening and I could feel my eyes water, and I wanted to hold it back, but some tears fell down. I teared up because I felt the love that they both had and it made me realize how much they actually loved each other. I don't think I know anyone who shares that same love as my grandparents did. 55 years.

love is real
how grandma longs for
her Joe in heaven

On a breezy Wednesday morning, my entire family is dressing up in all black preparing for my grandmother's funeral. We arrive early to say our final goodbyes to her, before the casket is closed. I begin crying, hugging my cousin, because she meant so much to us. We pinned pictures of us in her casket. I continued to blow my nose and wipe my tears as my cousin was talking about her life. It's time for them to close her casket. All of her grandsons, including me, carried the casket to the hearse. The sun was shining down on her golden casket which made me think about how great she is. As we all continue to mourn as her casket lowers, but I know she's in a better place. 

sun reflects
on the casket

My dad has two brothers and they all used to work on the family farm after college. One day, my uncle found out he was going to be a father, but it was unexpected. So, my dad said my uncle disappeared for a whole day and cut down trees with an axe. I'm sure he had a lot to think about. My dad tells the story being funny, but at the time I can imagine how upset my grandpa would have been and how stressed my uncle would have been.

nervously walking in circles
will he be like me?

I can't really remember a time where it seemed like my parents genuinely loved each other. My mom assures me that she did love my dad, and I believe her because I don't know what else to believe. One day we're in the car, she's driving home from somewhere, maybe school, and she tells me that she's having an affair with a woman I know from when I was younger. She tells me she's going to leave my dad and that this woman makes her happy, and it never crosses my mind that my dad might not be happy about this. My dad's happiness has never occurred to me because I never see him as anything but drunk. He exists in the peripheral of my life, as do my mother and my brother. I remember very little, but at the same time too much. I remember the day we stopped going over to that woman's house every week. I remember asking why and never being given an answer. I don't remember my mom sneaking around to have the first affair when I was eleven, but at the same time I remember that right around them was the time my parents' marriage really started to fall apart. Everything started to fall apart after that.

That day in the car doesn't feel real to me. If my mom had told me these things now I would have yelled at her for cheating on my dad, for making things worse for everyone in the house because their failed marriage has damaged me and my brother more than they are willing to realize.

in the car
chilly spring
my mom changes everything

I love to people watch and I often think about how these insignificant people that I pass by on the street have so much more to their lives than I could even imagine. Someone who may seem friendly and genial on the outside could be battling depression or trouble at home. A pretty woman could be working as a prostitute to help feed her children. Things like that. There are so many different possibilities. I vividly remember entertaining myself as a child by thinking about these things when I was bored in church. Every time someone would pass our pew, I would look at what they were wearing or who they were with and try to think of some backstory about their life. Where did they come from? Where are they going after church? What do they do for fun? So many possibilities.

children snickering
Mother shushes them and
continues to pray

I remember feeling the weight of juggling it all, making it through the everyday struggles of being a human. There was a lot riding on me getting it done and it simply was not going to happen. Everyone else's weight seemed to be catching up to them too. Instead of conversation you get a lot of “who's more stressed” competitions that only end in unnecessary anger towards people who are also just trying to succeed as well. So, you tell yourself you're just gonna take one for yourself, you're going to go home and forget about all of the stress and just be. You're not gonna think about the ten-page research papers, or the ten million pages worth of reading, or the ten losers who can do it all better than you. You're just gonna sit and exist, breathe maybe, and let yourself relax. So you trudge all the way from your last class, braving whatever elements may come your way, and you shut your bedroom door. You sit down at your desk or on your bed and take your first deep breath, maybe get on your phone or get in your thoughts. You think about your mom or your best friends and the memories you have with them, and suddenly, BOOM. You're wanting to surround yourself with the exact thing you were just running away from.

close the door
crack open the book
is Jordan on campus?

Even though I myself have never been admitted into a Pyschiatric Ward by oldest brother has made many trips there. My brother has a very severe case of Tourette's Syndrome and OCD in which he has gone through multiple brain surgeries and the recoveries are horribly long. That being said, since my brother has had so many and his case of Tourettes's is so severe, he has to be held in Pysch Wards for recoveries because he cannot be held in a normal hospital room next to other patients. Even though he is the most normal and head strong kid I know, he has to be held in Pysch Wards for recoveries which is so sad because that is not him and doesn't represent my brother, so his shadow stays outside because a mental hospital does not represent who he truly is as a person.

time goes by
step by step . . .
confidence reflects in the mirror

One time in high school, over the summer, my best friend and I got in a huge fight. I remember getting a angry text from her and bickering for the entirety of the day. At the night she sent me a huge paragraph about how she didn't want to be my friend anymore. I was so upset and I just went to sleep. I woke up in the morning to the bright sun in my face. I was actually on vacation in Florida at the time. So, when I first woke up, all I could think about was how happy I was to be sleeping with a beach outside my window. I went outside to look at the beautiful water and the sun rising up. For a moment, I forgot that I was ever in a fight with my best friend. After thinking more into my day, I decided I would respond to her message and it all worked out for the best.

summer sun
no reply
waves crashing

© 2017, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.