Silent Night, Silent Day

haibun poem
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Something in the way she drives. Her left hand, turned up, turned down, on and off the steering wheel. Her steely eyes, centered on the road. The 40 MPH sprints on the side streets. The utter silence. I shrink in my seat. Pity my brother, who bears this cold onslaught of not-a-word.

setting sun
Canada geese taking flight
over wetlands

The ride is a bookend of the beginning of this holiday. We picked Robert up on our way to Adelia’s for Christmas Eve. At first, he monologues about the new TZ Bridge. Mira grips my hand so tightly that I almost lose circulation. Then we’re all silent, through an unspoken consent.

across brown grass
and bare naked Maples
Blue Hill Tower

Even at dinner, Robert hardly says a word. Through grilled octopus with potatoes and greens; Mariscara with rice; Bollos de Bacalau, Rocuitto, Damplanas, a taste of table red wine: he stays quiet. Other than a line or two here and there. But his eyes dart around, holding a glance that could be a sigh. And more than a few of his yawns may be due to boredom.

fading twilight
silhouette against the sky
the Tallman Mountains

While he opened gifts Christmas morning, while sipping eggnog: his silence continued. At dinner that day, through lamb, filet mignon, leftover mariscara and more wine. The same silence.

trees closing in
a slow-moving van blocks our
sight of the road

Until he rediscovers his voice — too late — in the driveway of the Living Center.

As I leave.

a new silence
reflection of my brother
shrinks in the rearview


The Writers Manifesto

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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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