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Sanctuary City: Haskal and the Haiku

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As Klaus eventually made his way home to finally meet his mate, many thoughts drifted through his head. It had been months since he had seen Haskal, and was eager to embrace his sweet furry face. He knew that he should hurry, but so many different things so easily captured his interest. The forest was incredibly diverse and full of life; there seemed to be something to learn from every cloud, wasp and leaf.

tree fallen by beavers

He passed a young tree on the river’s edge that had been recently fallen by another beaver, and stopped to admire the pile of large curved wooden chips scattered on the forest floor. “Nice gnawing technique, he thought to himself.

Haskal was sitting quietly on the edge of the grass-covered beaver dam, just slowly flicking his ropey tail in and out of the still water. Klaus was over a day late, and he could tell that Haskal was worried and tense.

beaver creek dam

“dead I thought you were / so long since I have seen you / worried, angry, sad

love you so dearly / my Castor canadensis / glad you’re not a pelt”

Whenever Haskal was really upset, he developed a bit of a nervous tick and could only speak in haikus. Initially Klaus had found this idiosyncrasy somewhat unsettling, but now it was mostly just endearing. Haikus were also very short; being bombarded by them was certainly preferable to being awash in long angry sonnets or free verse.

Haskal scurried toward his beaver love, licking and nuzzling Klaus’ moist neck. Suddenly he recoiled from the remnants of Cedar’s lingering scent.

“you stink of human / why the strange fascination? / waste of time it is

always watching them / loud arrogant creatures / they will never change”

Klaus did not respond; he just methodically clawed at the moist earth on the riverbank with his webbed feet. He had a difficult time himself understanding why he was so compelled to observe the local humans. There definitely were more productive ways to spend his day. He should actually finish mudding the house and make a few needed repairs before winter sets in.

Bristling with hurt and anger, Haskal continued:

“humans slaughter us / senseless violence is their way / avoid such mammals

my coypu heart breaks / at the thought of losing you / why such risks you take?”

The wall of silence between them thickened as he vainly searched his mind for some way to explain. Klaus knew that his behavior was reckless and foolish, but he still continued to be morbidly fascinated with the awkward species. Unable to think of a coherent response, he loudly thumped the ground with his large flat tail and gave his beloved a warm hug. Klaus pleaded:

“Let us speak no more of humans. Life is short as water is deep. I am sorry to cause you worry Haskal, my sweet rodent love. In the future I promise to sharpen my teeth on different trees.”

Haskal’s dark eyes glistened and filled with tears; his face was wrought with pain, tenderness and confusion. He then let out a long exasperated sigh, and slowly turned to embrace Klaus.

“sometimes never know / what you are talking about / my queer beaver love”

Editor’s note: This is the ninth installment of Sanctuary City, an ongoing fictional serial that appears regularly in Ecolocalizer. Read the previous chapter here.

You can read the next installment of Sanctuary City here.

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