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THE HAIBUN GALLERY: 8th December — a Thursday feature

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

Hosts: Reid Hepworth and Shalini Pattabiraman

8th December 2022

Today we bring you the second haibun in the series featuring Terri L. French. This time we explore the fictional character, JT Blankenship, a precocious 11 year-old from rural Alabama.

Terri L. French

Fit to be Tied

I stole some shoe laces from the Five-and-Dime yesterday. I ‘spose that’s a stupid thing to steal. I could have easily pocketed that package of army men or that cap gun in my winter coat, but instead, that pack of 27-inch, white shoelaces wound up in my hand.

Randy Buckhorn, the school bully, always makes fun of my raggedy sneakers and I was getting plumb tired of it. Mama said I could get a new pair on my birthday, but that was a whole two months away. I figured if I just had new laces and cleaned my old shoes up as best as I could, maybe Randy would find somebody with nastier shoes than mine to pick on.

I shoulda asked Mama for the money, but a boy has his pride. So, I just snatched ‘em. Lord, I swear those shoe laces were talking to me from inside my pocket all the way home. I was afraid everybody I passed on the sidewalk could hear them screaming, “Help! Save me! I’ve been nabbed!”

Saturday matinee

a gum-shoe on

and off the screen

The next morning, I came down to breakfast with those laces in my ratty, but clean shoes. The laces were whiter than fresh snow and stood out like a sore thumb against my faded black sneakers.

“Why JT,” Mama said first thing, “are those new shoe laces?”

“Yes, Ma’am,” I answered, praying my ears weren’t twitching like they are prone to do whenever I’m fixing to tell a fib. Darned, if she wasn’t lookin’ right at my dad-blamed ears.

“And where did you get the money, JT?”

I knew there weren’t no sense in digging myself a bigger hole.

“Mama,” I said, mustering up all my courage to look her in the eye, “I must confess, I stole ‘em.”

She let out the heaviest sigh I’d ever heard. It was so full of sorrow, it hurt my bones. Then she made me put the old laces back in and sent me off with the promise that after school, we would take a trip to the Five-and-Dime and I would return those stolen laces.

I learned a lesson in humiliation that day, not to mention the pain I felt for disappointing my Mama. I also learned new shoe laces, nor new nuthin’ don’t make you a better man no matter what Randy Buckhorn says.

pencil marks

on the door frame–

measuring up


Keepers a book of haibun

R: Nothing pulls me in more than a strong character with a moral compass and a penchant for introspection. This haibun, like all the haibun featuring JT Blankenship, reminds me of Mark Twain’s, Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. Terri weaves a compelling storyline around a captivating main character with a unique voice and temperament. As a new haibuneer, I hadn’t read anything quite like this in my haibun travels. So refreshing.

There is nothing padded in the prose, it is tight, rich and engaging. JT’s voice is honest, humorous and self-aware (for an 11 year-old). Both ku fit like a glove.

Terri’s thoughts about Fit to be Tied:

Oh JT, he is my favorite imaginary boy and very real to me! His story (yes, it is his) reminds me of a time when my sister took a pair of shoe laces from a shoe store. I recall my mom made her take them back. Why do kids do the things they do? They tend to act on impulse. JT is a good boy and he knew he did wrong; his conscience was speaking to him. JT’s stories are very relatable to me because we both grew up in the 60s. Cap guns, plastic army men, Saturday matinees—these are all things I remember from my own childhood. Also, I have two sons of my own who were raised in rural Alabama, so many southern rural and religious elements are often a part of the JT haibun.


For this week, we want you to work on creating a strong storyline. Wow-us with the inner workings of your mind and/or try something a little out of your comfort zone. Think of how Terri laces humour with self-reflection and see where that takes you.


1. Only two haibun per poet per prompt.

2. Share your best-polished pieces.

3. Please do not post something in a hurry or something you have just written. Let it simmer for a while.

4. When poets give suggestions and if you agree to them - post your final edited version on top of your original version.

5. Don't forget to give feedback on others' poems.

We are delighted to open the comment thread for you to share your unpublished haibun (within 300 words) to be considered for inclusion in the haikuKATHA monthly journal.


396 views117 comments


mona bedi
mona bedi
Dec 14, 2022



She lovingly caresses her scar. The curved line of hard flesh travels up her neck climbs over the slight bump of her jaw and then tapers down to to a thin line near her right eye. She makes it a point to dress up her left eye keeping the right eye devoid of make- up, highlighting her identity…

summer storm—

I bring home a

one winged bird

Feedback appreciated:)

Reid Hepworth
Reid Hepworth
Dec 14, 2022
Replying to





I’m always afraid I’ll drive into an interdimensional portal. One moment I’m driving on a back road to work & the next I’m somewhere else. A dystopia. A world of flying cats. A world where everything is the same, except there’s no you.

new life I’ve never felt more b(alone)y

Replying to

The insanity of it all... Love the one liner :)


Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
Dec 11, 2022

Thanks, Shalini, for the edits. (I read it aloud and it works well.) You have put in a lot of effort on this. Much grateful.


Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?

— Christopher Marlowe

I admire my newly assembled white lily and walnut finish dresser unit from a distance as I sweep the room. There is no mess, but one never knows with sawdust. I then wipe the dresser clean with a flannel cloth, all the while carefully avoiding looking into the mirror. I am not ready yet.

voices in my head —

in every seat

an unwelcome passenger

My bath towel wrapped around me, I walk up to the mirror and drop the towel…

Replying to

I have incorporated some final edits to your piece to allow for a smoother reading. Please read aloud to see if this works for you.

Edited out 'then'; it is extraneous. Don't need words that don't do a job here. 'Past memories' although by itself a good phrase, was quite telly and jarring intrusion before the haiku. I brought back your 'voices in the head' into the haiku which builds a better narrative line of thought in the haiku. Removed now jerking as 'balance' already attends to it. It's a repeat. I have tweaked your last line to keep the alliteration with/l/.


Kala Ramesh
Kala Ramesh
Dec 10, 2022

haikuKATHA Haibun NOMINATIONS for RED MOON Anthology and CHO Anthology 2022 Hearty Congratulations!

Pegasus -- Anju Kishore, India

haikuKATHA Issue 6 April 2022

Worlds Apart - Anju Kishore, India haikuKATHA Issue 5, March 2022 Where the Heart is - Anju Kishore – India haikuKATHA issue 12 October 2022 Writer’s BlockAnju Kishore – India haikuKATHA November, Issue 13

Foundation - Billie Dee – USA haikuKatha issue 12 October 2022 Sasquatch Country - Billie Dee – USA haikuKATHA, November 2022 Issue 13

Creature ComfortsBryan Rickert – USA haikuKATHA issue 14 December 2022

Cover up - Florence Heyhoe – UK haikuKATHA Issue 11 September 2022

All in a Day's Work – Gauri Dixit - India

haikuKATHA issue 10 August 2022

Even Now - Janice Doppler – USA haikuKatha issue 10 August…

Vidya Shankar
Vidya Shankar
Dec 13, 2022
Replying to

Yes, it would be lovely!


Unknown member
Dec 10, 2022

Magic words - a podcast

It was freezing cold yet gloriously sunny outside. But we were in the library. Making bookmarks. We had to cut these pieces of card in strips then test them out using proper books.' Is it long enough to slip between the pages and protrude beyond the edge? Is it wide enough? Can you use it to move between the lines ?' "What does she think she's doing, this stupid teacher! Does she really believe she'll get us into reading by doing this ? "I surreptitiously wrote on one of my samples and and passed it to my best friend Steve. Talking you'll understand, was forbidden. And then ofcourse my missive was confiscated.

So that was…

Replying to

Hi Diana

See if you are okay with this. I have italicized for you and edited the first sentence for a smoother reading.

Magic words - a podcast

It was freezing cold, but gloriously sunny outside. Yet we were in the library making bookmarks, cutting pieces of cards in strips to test them using proper books. Is it long enough to slip between the pages and protrude beyond the edge? Is it wide enough? Can you use it to move between the lines ?

"What does she think she's doing, this stupid teacher! Does she really believe she'll get us into reading by doing this ?” I surreptitiously wrote on one of my samples and passed it to my best…

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