The next poem featured amongst our runners-up is Haibun of the Remembered by Isle Pedler. Malika Booker comments: 'llse Pedler experiments with the traditional Japanese form, by expanding and changing its preoccupation with nature to encompass an examination of the nature and impact of certain men’s actions. The compact imagery in the haiku provides a powerful poetic resolve.'
Haibun of the Remembered
The first was a room where, disguised with darkness, he held a spotlight to her eye and asked questions about her boyfriend, watched confusion play out on the screen of her retina and where she smelt the garlic on his short breaths as he pressed her back against the hardness of the wall and she felt another hardness pressed to her front. Where the nurse had left the room, where there was a corridor centimetres behind her full of people. No? was the word he whispered into the flare of her pupil. Go then. Where a door was opened and she was discarded into the bright hive of the hospital, where walking down the street, she felt the pavement plunge and reel under her feet.
The second was in a street in a different country, a summer evening stroll to the cinema, a group of young men coming towards her laughing and a passing split-second touch that branded her nipple in an uninvited ember hot shame forty years long.
The third was a swimming pool, the water a glove she slipped into, holding and unholding her through familiar lengths. Hi, he said, you swim well, I used to be a coach, a couple of tips would improve your stroke. Her arm angled this way, her body turned as she pushed off, Just like that, then slightly too long and she rolled on the palm of his undressing, her breast released to the water’s baffle. No! she said, OK I have to go now, remember my lesson.
Yes she will; in a room, in a pool, on the street, on a beach, in the tube, in a pub, the flies unzipped, the bodies pressed against hers, the slaps, the grabs, the words, the looks.
her closed mouth
a fly buzzing on the inside
of a window