A Hug

by Natalia L. Rudychev

Phipps Conservatory runs a butterfly exhibit from spring to autumn each year. Mesh curtains and air fans prevent butterflies from escaping their enclosure. Due to a strange irony in the arrangement of the conservatory’s rooms, the orchid exhibit is just across the hall. Orchids have proven to be irrestible to butterflies which do their best to reach them.

I found one of the swallowtails on the ground exhausted by the long flight with the air currents created by the fans. It was in the perfect position to be trampled by the next group of visitors. I knew that touching butterflies is not permitted and can be harmful to them. But . . . there was nothing against a butterfuly touching me, so I offered it a finger. I was surprised by the eagerness with which all six of its tiny legs embraced my finger. I transported it to the nearest plant and left it there to rest. Several minutes later it disappeared into the exhibit.

Upon leaving the conservatory I felt so good that I found the courage to endure the raised eyebrows of a carousel token collector and indulged in a solitary ride on a magnificent sea dragon.

                                    strong wind
                                    the child hugs
                                    a budding sapling 

Published in Frogpond (The Journal of Haiku Society of America)

The Smile and "Hello, Dear"

I've known her for as long as I can remember. We met almost every day but we both were too shy to introduce ourselves. For me her name was the smile and invariable "hello, dear". She was well advanced in years, slim, and tidy. Her clothes showed signs of wear but the overall impression was very pleasing. We talked only once when my Irish setter ran to her and insisted on smelling her pockets. She did not protest. She was worried and a little confused. She said, "Dear, I don't have any treats just some sunflower seeds". I explained that my dog was fond of sunflower seeds. She gave him a handful. While he was eating I could tell that she was happy because she could afford to treat somebody. I thanked her and we parted ways. Afterwards I could not stop smiling. Her happiness filled me with joy. I left for college a week later. This year somebody told me that she passed away.

the sky clears
rainbow bridges
two riverbanks

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online

Natalia L. Rudychev in British Haiku Society Haibun Anthology The Unseen Wind