dVerse Haibun: Memory Lane

WikiCommons Image cc:00

The Straight Of It

It might’ve been 1952. Or 3. It was certainly summer. I remember wearing cotton shorts and a sleeveless top. It’s hot. The sun stings my arms. I’m barefoot, walking on a narrow brick path that always feels cool and slightly wet against my toes. It leads from the back door down three levelled grassy terraces to the dirt road where every car that passes disappears behind a curtain of dust. Our house is on top of a steep slope; we look down on the other houses, toward the lake. Mum’s pushing the lawnmower across the grass. Up and down and back and forth. It leaves square patches of varied naps, like quilted green. Deep. Light. Bright. Mum stops near the veg garden, empties the grass clippings on top of Dad’s beetroot plants. He eats them raw, and they turn his pee pink. She looks up the slope, admires her afternoon’s work. The lines have to be straight. They have to.  Sometimes she starts all over, mowing quilt-ish squares. They have to be straight. Like the placemats on the table. Paintings on the wall. Magazines on the coffee table. Everything lined up. Straight. Don’t slouch, standup straight, she tells me.

It’s golden light is
sun’s fevered grass and arsenic.
It bites like ginger.

for dVerse Haibun “Memory Lane” Image WikiCommons cc:00 © Misky 2021

17 responses to “dVerse Haibun: Memory Lane”

  1. Oh this is so delicious in detail! The short sentences….the up and down and back and forth. The description of what you are wearing adds to the “temperature” we feel in the summer sun. Everything straight. And then the extra details of each item inside that must also be straight…and the admonition to stand up straight. Don’t slouch. Your mother was orderly and that sense of her psyche played out in her mowing, her decor, and her admonitions to you. Haiku….that bite of ginger….hmmm. In some ways, I take that as the “bite” of your mum to stand up, don’t slouch…her reminders to be orderly and straight and upright. Ginger has a bite….but there is also a saying, “Ginger is your friend” in terms of its healthy results within the human body! 🙂
    Just an excellent read.
    I might just add, to appease your mum here….I am now struggling to correct 73 years of slouching and 7+ years of slouching over a laptop computer….a strained neck, affected spine, and back pain. Going to PT finally as pain has gotten so bad. So I wish I’d had a parent who harped on me to stand up straight! 🙂 Now my PT, my husband and my back are “harping” on me to do that!
    Thanks so much for posting to the prompt!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It sounds like it could have been difficult to live up to your mother’s ideals! I love the detail of your dad’s pink pee – these are the kind of childhood memories which stick!


  3. I love your Mum’s need to have everything orderly! I’m a bit puzzled at the arsenic……


    • Arsenic is also a beautiful shade of green, known as Scheele’s Green. My mum loved that shade of green, as do I. They don’t use arsenic as a colouring agent anymore. Too toxic.


  4. Oh, that obsession with straight… I remember seeing those squares of lawns and wondering how to do it… maybe it took someone as careful as your mother to do it. I know well the effect of beets, it’s certainly shocking if you forget you had them the day before.

    Liked by 1 person

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