Soraya’s Annual

legal haibun


I receive a call from AnaMaria. A family awaits me outside 282. I head to the office suite to meet them.

Only they aren’t the family I’m expecting. I swallow, open the door and seat the three of them.

Soraya’s mother holds three folded letters. The last one reads “Final Notice of Summons.”

“It said I could face charges!” Her mother exclaims, her aggravation evident.

But the middle-aged Latina also sounds nervous. Her wide eyes seek confirmation of her letters’ accusation. Her estranged ex-husband, on the other hand, calmly takes in everything with a non-chalant gaze.

Soraya, herself, presents as confident and speaks eloquently on her own behalf. “Let me tell you why,” she says at one point.

Yet she remains a teenager, wearing the fashionable tight t-shirt and jeans popular with those her age. Hope — and fear — radiate from her face in spite of her confident attitude.

I listen to her and her family.

She wants a local diploma, but she doesn’t find her resource room class helpful. And she breaks her own heart every time she fails a Regents or Regents Competency Test. I recommend Team-teaching classes. They agree. Listening to — and encouraging — her, I help her to recommit to finishing her education.

“I’m tearing up,” her mother says.

The meeting ends. I walk them to the office door, and we say our farewells. Then I return. Sit down. And breathe at last.

January night—
young woman leaving behind
her little girl ways


photograph by Angelina Litvin

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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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