What Was His Is Mine

Desk with the word "finish" printed beneath.

The desk I work at was once my father’s desk. In my father’s desk there are many drawers. In the drawer where I keep my passport, he kept his cigarette papers. In the drawer where I keep my secret chocolate, he kept his canceled checks. In the drawer where I keep my unfinished novel, he kept his very well-kept ledger books. In the drawer — the top drawer — where I keep everything else, he kept everything else. Throughout my childhood I opened this drawer regularly, to inspect its nearly unchanging contents.

waiting for the rain
to start

There were pencil stubs in here, matchbooks, old business cards, and various office supplies that were more or less interesting. But what I was most drawn to was an old pair of glasses, black and squared-off: old-fashioned, discarded eyes that my father never looked through anymore. I sometimes took off my own glasses and looked through them for him. I didn’t think the world looked much different through those old glasses, though. A little bit smaller, that’s all, and a little bit farther away.

distant thunder
tobacco isn’t what got him
in the end


Haibun Today, December 2011


14 thoughts on “What Was His Is Mine

  1. What a treasure, Melissa. After my dad died, I worked on my courses in his workshop, while staying with my mother. I found the crossword puzzle dictionary we gave him years ago, held together with duct tape. It’s in this room now.

  2. Hi, Melissa, I have a desk that John had made so it would fit with his piano since he was arranging for jazz musicians professionally. He was a very organized person (I’m just the opposite)…in his desk everything is still arranged in their compartments and it was so well stocked that even now over eleven years after is passing, it still supplies many of my office needs. He had two huge drawers at it’s base. And when I could not bring myself to scatter his ashes I finally decided that the only place fitting for them would be in his music desk…that he had made so many decades before.
    the deeds we do
    a widow hears the song
    of a wren
    I wasn’t going to post this…since your haibun is so perfect, but I couldn’t hold the words back. Thanks for sharing, Merrill

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