Contemporary Haibun Today, Time
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Contemporary Haibun Poem


The mid-afternoon sun rests along the top of the Ramapo Mountains. The patio shines in a brilliance unobstructed by leafless maple trees. Mira and I sit at the table, taking a rest from the vigil we’ve kept over my father for the past two days. We need fresh air untainted by the stench of human feces and Febreeze. I need a moment away from his incessant, morphine-driven snoring.

But a shout from my mother brings us running back. She stands by Dad’s right side, her back to the fireplace. Dark lines under her eyes from lack of sleep look more prominent in the afternoon light. I take my place by his left. A misunderstanding later, my eight-year-old son stands next to me.

My father takes his last breath: air gurgles out of him as though from a deflating balloon.

I feel nothing. He is so still now. So unlike his graceful floating across the white Italian tile of his restaurant, greeting every one of his customers like they were guests in his own home. So unlike his laying and hammering down the planks of the backyard deck he designed and built. So unlike him.

“Is he gone?”

My numbness shatters. In a whisper, through sudden, silent sobs, I answer my son.


December sunset
an empty hospice bed
an empty room



Photograph by Ryan McGuire


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Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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