Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2007, vol 5 no 2


It's not funny
Lynne Rees


Lil is dying in front of us and it is breaking our hearts. It's a cliché‚ we know, but our hearts do feel like the walls of old houses whose bricks are beginning to crumble and let in the rain. But when the noise starts from the curtained bed next to us, first Tony, then his sister, then I too finally start to giggle. At first it's just the occasional squeak but it increases to a steady, urgent rhythm that has us staring wide-eyed at each other.

This is Intensive Care – it wouldn't be allowed, would it? But before long we're squealing with suppressed laughter and wiping our eyes when the heavy breathing starts, then a moan that sounds more like the beginning of the beginning of life, than the beginning of the end.

We lay odds on the nurses. The one with the bosom threatening to pop the buttons on her pink uniform. The male nurse with the pencil moustache. My money's on the consultant who just soft-footed it across the ward, running a manicured hand through his floppy fringe.

It's building to a crescendo now.

'Oh Jesus!' one of us splutters.

'No, it's definitely not him!'

'Stop it!'

And the three of us hang on to the bedclothes, knowing that Lil would be giggling along with us if she could.

This is not how we imagined it would be. It is better. It is worse.

clearing out
his dead mother's house
jars of jelly babies

Lynne Rees Lynne Rees was born and grew up in South Wales, UK. She's the author of a novel, The Oven House (2004); a collection of poetry, Learning How to Fall (2005); and co-author of a volume of short experimental prose, Messages (2006). Her haibun, 'Collection', published in Simply Haiku, vol 4 no 4, was selected for BigSky (Red Moon Press, 2007). She lives in England and France.