Walls and Doors – Haibun

The first thing we taught each other, was how to close doors in the other one’s face. How to stack the bricks just so, mortar the cracks, keep the lines level. We built walls out of words. Pressed the letters into each other until the house buzzed with noise and it felt as though the walls were full of bees.

We learn the strings to pull. The chords that yanked out the anger, snapped the calmness. At night, when the neighbours slept we would hammer out brittle songs on instruments we’d forgotten how to tune.

One night I broke you. Left your pieces on the living room floor and watched you stare at the splinters I’d made of your hands, your face, your heart. When you reached for me, I couldn’t remember where I’d put the key to my door.

Once, I wore your clothes,

tried to make them fit my skin

better than my own.


When I started writing this piece, I fully intended it to be a work of fiction, but I think a little bit of reality worked its way in there.Thank you to Kansensakura and the wonderful dVerse Poets Pub for the prompt. If you haven’t heard of their fantastic Haibun poetry nights then you have to click the logo above and check out the rest of their amazing poets, writing amazing poetry.


  1. Wow, Carol. Your ability to express what, sadly, most of us have known at one time or another is just incredible here. I suspect that there is a good bit of non-fiction here–nobody could write this without having been there.


  2. This is a wonderful piece of writing……the use of the wall and door analogy is excellently penned here. I especially love the last line, so very powerful in the effect of their actions. “When you reached for me, I couldn’t remember where I’d put the key my door.” (just noticed — do you mean for there to be a “to” or “for” before the word “my” in this sentence?) I was so drawn into this…….And the haiku expresses so well the pitfall of trying to make someone into someone they are not. Very well done!


  3. As I commented on Bjorn’s haibun, the person who said “stick and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me” was an idiot. Words, coupled with just the right silence, can definitely hurt. And the walls we build are no protection.


  4. I think all the best fiction is based in truth (regardless of fact). This is powerful and convincing.


  5. Stunning imagery! I especially like the comparison to music with ” strings to pull”, “chords that yanked out the anger”, ” brittle songs on instruments we’d forgotten to tune”. So true that often we speak before adjusting our tone and content.


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