I am responding to a reader who challenged me to take the notes I made in my journal yesterday and write something from them. I settled on writing a haibun, a form of Japanese poetry. Haibun begin with brief, experiential prose (fictional in this case), followed by a haiku that is subtly and tangentially related to the prose portion. Can you see the connection between the prose and the haiku?
Flinging damp sheets off my body, I bolt from bed at the sound of my phone ringing on the night stand. I fumble for the switch on my lamp.
Why is it so hot? Why is it always so damned hot?
My throat is sore, raw, like swallowing razor blades, and I answer the phone with a ragged “Hello?” An automated voice drones something about mandatory evacuation. My mind snaps awake when I hear the name of my street.
I jump from bed and peel off the tee-shirt and shorts that cling to my sweaty body. I dress and quickly gather my bags and the boxes of valuables I had put out yesterday.
I open the front door. The air, still so hot even in the pre-dawn darkness, rushes in, bringing the odor of charred wood and grass. I cough, and keep coughing until my lungs ache. The smoke overwhelms me. My throat burns even more.
I can’t breath. I’m going to die.
I stagger to my car, already pointed head out of the drive way. I look up the hillside next to my house. The sky glows a sickening orange.
Now I see the first fingers of flame roar over the crest and head down towards me.
Text: ljgloyd (c) 2018
Photos: Courtesy of Morguefile.com