Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
button Contents button Archives button About Simply Haiku button Submissions button Search button
Winter 2009, vol 7 no 4


The Dust
Wende Skidmore DuFlon


cactus flower
blooming at your door
my smile deepens

My friend says she remembers the dust. It sticks in her memory of this place.

The rains are due in a fortnight or two. They will peel the dust away from the bamboo fences, from the giant elephant ear leaves, from our tables and chairs, from our eyes.

People here say that the birds call the rains. I remember that when I first heard this I dismissed it as poetic. It took at least two Aprils for me to notice that before the rains come in mid-May, there are many more birds singing—they wake us before the church bells at dawn and sing through day and into the dusk. The people call this time of year summer because it is dry and hot. I still call it spring.

The birds are guests here, stopping by on the long trek north to make new homes and babies—guests in a foreign land, just like me.

The dirt road in front of our house stretches straight down a few blocks and then up following the contour of the volcano foothills. A man is walking slowly leading his bony horse, anonymous under the mound of dry corn stalks. They come toward me through a dust cloud of his own making. Dust speckles glint golden in the late afternoon sun. I notice that the birds are unusually quiet. Resting dogs are dark dots on the road.

I think of my friend and how her hair is the color of dust in the tropics.

twilight sky
the crescent moon cups
a single star


Wende Skidmore DuFlon Wende Skidmore DuFlon lives in a semi-rural town outside La Antigua, Guatemala with her husband and three children. She has lived and worked in Mexico and Central America for the last 25 years working to reduce poverty through improved reproductive health, basic education, and nutrition. She enjoys her newfound living through the haiku optic and relishes the learning process that comes from mutual sharing of work with other writers. Her poems have been published in Ribbons, Simply Haiku, The Heron's Nest, and A Travel-Worn Satchel, the Haiku Society of America 2009 Members' Anthology.