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Image by francesco carinci

The Felling

There are red ribbons tied around the ones that must go. Not all of them are unhealthy—they are just in the way. Slowly, I walk the property apologizing to each one—the stately white oak, the tulip poplars, the hickory. With my hand spade I kneel to dig up a dozen or so seedlings that are also in the path of our new home’s construction. i will plant them out of harm's way. Then, placing my bare feet next to the trunk of the tallest oak and placing my palms on its rough bark, I try to match our pulses. To feel as one. 


where the sap
no longer runs


oxygen mask.jpg

Dragons live Forever

My father reclines in his La-Z-Boy, the afghan pulled up over his head like a burial shroud. His lighter, ashtray, cigarettes, inhaler and oxygen tank are within reach. His nicotine-stained fingers—the color of sausages gone bad—twitch as he dreams.


He is 8-years old, behind the barn with his cousins Donny and Marvin in Yale, Michigan. Donny, three years his senior, clumsily rolls a cigarette, mimicking the moves of their grandfather. He licks the paper and pulls a piece of tobacco from his tongue, flicking it to the ground. Donny hands the gnarled thing to Marvin, the second oldest, who lights it. He takes a puff but doesn't inhale. He hands the cig to my dad who inhales deeply, filling his 8-year-old lungs. He doesn't cough. He exhales slowly and smiles.


My father awakens, turns off the oxygen tank and reaches for his cigarettes. The smoke fills his 72-year old lungs. He exhales, coughs, and reaches for his inhaler.


autumn mist

mom changes the ending

of the fairy tale


Haiku Society of America Haibun Awards, Third Place, 2012

Terri french.webp

Terri L. French is a writer and editor living in Huntsville, Alabama. She is former editor of Prune Juice Journal of senryu and kyoka. Terri was a former Member at Large on The Haiku Foundation board of directors and served as Southeast coordinator for The Haiku Society of America.  Currently Terri is on the editorial team of Contemporary Haibun Online. You can read more about her work and awards at

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