Toll Booth Lit for Christmas

The following poem won second place in the 1995 Henderson contest for haiku, sponsored by the Haiku Society of America. The judges were Karen Sohne and Bill Pauly, who also wrote the comments following the poem—my thanks to Karen and Bill for selecting this poem, and for their observations. First published in Frogpond XVIII:4, Winter 1995, page 34. See also “Toll Booth Lit for Christmas” by Paul Miller and “The Light in the Darkness” by Ruth Yarrow.       +

by Karen Sohne and Bill Pauly

        toll booth lit for Christmas—

        from my hand to hers

        warm change

An instant of warm interaction suggests the kind of Christmas spirit for which many of us still yearn. On the cold, impersonal tollway shines a small island of human light, an exchange of gifts between traveler and toll collector. Combining a vivid visual image with a subtle tactile one, this haiku focuses on the point where our life brushes against a total stranger’s and we recognize our commonality.