Friday, March 7, 2014

Tanka prose: Progeny


My mother was witness. I see myself, as if looking from above. 

four years old
how the china doll
I held  
shattered on the floor 
. . .  still my empty arms

Though well cared for, most of them met with tragedy at some point: for example, the pretty one whose neck gave out; the "kissing" doll who broke when I gave her a bath in my grandparents' sink; the baby doll riddled with dart holes courtesy of a neighbor boy (brother to my best friend).

Polly, the doll
with long golden braids
and a gash
that allowed me to see 
her sawdust insides

I chose the names of my future daughters when I was just a child. From where does the nurturing instinct come?     

a girl whose dolls
were all neatly clothed
and coiffed . . .
not knowing then
that I'd have no children

Skylark, premiere edition, Summer 2013
"a girl whose dolls" was initially published in Simply Haiku, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2008), and subsequently in Take Five, Vol. 1 (2009)


  1. Oh wow...the first and the last just twist my heart! Each of these, so well done Janet!

  2. Very precious reminiscences – with an ache of tenderness. Really, just lovely, Janet.

  3. Thank you, my faithful readers, J and W!
    I was such a doll lover as a child.

  4. Three wonderful tanka, each of which could stand alone quite nicely--but together, embedded in the prose, they make a very rich and poignant piece.

  5. thanks for the comments, jenny!