My fathers sword (a haibun)

In the mornings at breakfast my mother would ask ”Who are you being today? What should I call you?” It was an arrangement we had. I was an imaginative child and she humoured me. I would answer Robin Hood or Peter Pan or Galahad, needing breakfast before the quest. She kept to my names very well, but she much preferred her dogs.

you can’t go far in this life,
or do any good,
without a fantasy horse

My father never asked such a question. I was his carpenters mate, whoever I was. We didn’t talk much as he sawed and I held the board steady or passed him nails. I am sure he knew what I thought. He made me a wooden sword. It could strike a mighty blow.

in a powder of sawdust,
was always more than enough

i rode my fantasy horse
in the realm of dreams
but my father armed me well


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