In the Garden Shed After Nightfall

First published in The Haibun Journal 1:2, autumn 2019, page 32. Originally written in February and October of 2007. See also “Kay F. Anderson, Life-Dancer.”

        For Kay F. Anderson, July 29, 1934 – February 8, 2007

Before bedtime, our three-year-old sometimes fussed about undressing for his bath. To encourage him one evening, I asked if he would take off his shirt or socks if I took off mine. He delighted in this game and soon he was splashing in the soap bubbles.

        foamies on our noses
        we sing the rubber ducky song
        suitably off-key

One night he was slow at playing along, so I said, “Let’s see who can take his shirt off the fastest.” I got my shirt off quickly. “I win,” I teased. He pulled his shirt off a second later, and proclaimed, “I win too!”
        That night we played with the wet washcloth, pretending it was a violin, a flute, and a guitar. He howled with laughter. While we played I thought about how he still saw “winning” as cooperative rather than competitive, how he had not yet felt the sting of loss. After I tucked him into bed, and went to close the blinds, I saw the night’s moonlight brightening all the rooftops down our street.

        news of her death—
        the burlap bag of tulip bulbs
        crumbles in my palm