02.03.22: Haibun: Ode to Billy

men playing cards
Billy the Kid

Mum was always saying “pipe-down” or “quiet about that” – but my sister and I had a blind spot of affection for him. This distant, and long dead relative that Mum said was a smudge on a line. Billy was his name. A wind-grazed face, rocky as a landscape. Dusty as death. Those eyes dark and set too deep, like floaters in an empty skull. Thin-lipped. The mouth’s all wrong; an artist would never draw a mouth like that. An artist with a kind a heart wouldn’t. And there’s nothing mysterious about his face, a shade timid and silly, perhaps. A misshapen hat that smells sweaty. Greasy, I suppose, and it keeps his ears folded down, makes his ears look larger than an artist would think flattering. I wonder who wept for him when he died. Shot in the head at 21, that’s what I’ve read. And did faith breathe his last prayer, did he strike a truce with God before his cloudless eyes closed. Or did death just cross his face, like a slap, and then there was nothing more of him.

Out in a field
Your struggles absent and still
Where does your heart sleep


The photo is from Wikipedia. ©Misky 2022 Shared with #amwriting on Twitter

7 responses to “02.03.22: Haibun: Ode to Billy”

  1. My favourite line: “Or did death just cross his face like a slap…” Brilliant. This is a lovely reflection. It’s funny how certain characters (even if they are only 2D in a photo, so capture our imaginations.

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    1. It’s an amazing photo, I think. Cards flipping and falling all over the place. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You round him up and show his human side so cleverly. I love it.

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome. Always 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. Profounf. So much packrd into a small parcel of a poem. Excellent

    Liked by 1 person

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