Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Contents Archives About Simply Haiku Submissions Search
Summer 2008, vol 6 no 2


Joyce Hildebrand


I quicken my pace along Tenth Street, shoulders hunched against the cold. Hearing my name, I look up to see Julie walking toward me. "Where you headed?" she asks, as I melt into her hug. Behind her, the steeple rises against an indigo sky, icicles gleaming on the crucifix. I remember last week – three robed men behind the altar, words I no longer recognize, a widening space between me and the worshippers.

Putting my arm through hers, I turn to walk the other way. "With you, for coffee. It's been too long." We climb the steps to the Higher Ground cafe just as the barista is unlocking the door. A rush of warmth pulls us in.

church bells
a silent line-up
for coffee and scones

Steam rises from the espresso machine. The customer ahead of us chants her order to the clink of coins in the tips bowl – "Skim latte, decaf, no foam, extra hot" – and I murmur "Amen."

In the window nook, I savour the first bite of buttered bagel, lift the cup to my lips. We settle into the sanctuary we create with our words.


Joyce Hildebrand Joyce Hildebrand works as a conservation specialist, writer, and magazine editor for the Alberta Wilderness Association. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her dog, Dora, and loves the wild places near her home — the Rockies, the prairies and the foothills. "Turning" is her second published haibun.