Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
September-October 2004, vol. 2, no. 5

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Betty Kaplan: Haibun


My father came from Russia. When my younger sister was born, he was left with five little girls to bring up.

her name was Flora
I was told
she loved lilacs
the mother
I never knew

When papa would set the table, he would first put down a sheet of newspaper.

dishes set out
a black and white newspaper
covers the white table
my sisters and I watch and wait
papa's potato pancakes

One day I invited a friend over for lunch. I put down the newspaper. She asked, "where is the table cloth?" I was so embarrassed. I did not know of table cloths.

Many years later, I was watching a movie about Russian immigrants. They were expecting cousins for dinner. The mother covered the table with a newspaper.

There was my childhood. It was not that papa did not know what to do. It was the way of the immigrants at that time.

a holiday table
with bone china and silver
set on fine linen
my heart remembers love placed
on a sheet of newspaper

(Originally published by Lynx)


More and more, it is voice response.
I check with my bank daily and now, instead of tapping in all the
numbers, you talk to a "guy."
After a while you think you know "him."
I even have said "please" and "thank you."
But this morning as I am holding the phone, I sneeze.
Quiet at the other end and then, "Sorry, I cannot find a response to
your request."

.....tangled strings --
..........the marionette
...............twists and turns

Betty Kaplan is retired from the Fashion Industry. She used to arrange clothes, and now arranges words. She started to write haiku five years ago and has published in Frogpond, Lynx, Woodpecker, South by Southeast, World Haiku Review and American Tanka.