I stood in line with twelve
other wards on a chilly April morning waiting to make my First Communion in the
orphanage chapel. I wore a plain white cotton dress which my mother's aunt made
just for this occasion. The nuns loaned me a veil, a sweater and a pair of scuffed,
patent leather shoes.
With the organ music came
our cue to move into the vestibule. Once inside, I stood on my tiptoes, trying
to spot my relatives. I was especially looking for my father, who hadn't been
to visit me for over a year. "His new wife is probably with him," I
thought to myself as I peered over the heads of people sitting in the pews. She
seemed nice the first time we met, but even so . . .
As I proceeded up the isle,
I caught a glimpse of him. I resisted the urge to run and throw myself at him
for a hug. My smile quickly faded as another face came into view. In my father's
arms was an infant wearing a frilly white dress with pink satin ribbons. She was
drooling, gnawing on one of his fingers. I looked away then and reminded myself
to keep moving. Barely hearing the priest's words over the blood whooshing in
my ears, I muttered "Amen" and opened my mouth to accept the thin wafer.
A baby's wail prompted me
to peek through my tears and gauzy veil. My father's smiling attention was on
his daughter--the one crying out loud.
a whiter white
late spring snow
on the narcissus
Katherine Cudney was
born in 1960 just across the river from New York City. About her childhood,
she says: "I was very serious as a child, which probably came from having
been placed in an orphanage at the age of two. I was always observant, intensely
aware of the subtle and quiet goings on around me."
Retired from the motion
picture industry, Katherine now resides in rural Tennessee with her husband and
young son. She stays busy painting, performing her music and writing every chance
she gets. About her writing, she says: "I've been blessed to have received
the very generous and patient guidance of Ms. Ferris Gilli, who so kindly critiqued
my fledgling haiku attempts and set me on a path of exciting discovery."
Since July of 2003, with
her first published haiku in The Heron's Nest, Katherine has enjoyed
a whirlwind journey. Her haiku and related genre have appeared in Acorn, Frogpond,
Modern Haiku, The Heron's Nest (as well as its 2004 Valentine Awards Issue),
Mainichi Daily News, World Haiku Review's Treetops and Simply Haiku.
"I've been bitten by
the haiku bug. I shall never be the same again."