Monday, October 26, 2015

Tanka Prose

The Breezeway

rest home residents
sedate in their wheelchairs
… as I pass by,
that age-old feeling
of being the odd one out

When the weather is decent enough, patients (both short-term and long-term), as well as family members, caretakers, and miscellaneous workers on break, line both sides of the covered walkway leading to the main entrance of the facility. We often join them there. Swirls of air from the overhead fan graze our faces.

laundry's lost
as often as names
are forgotten …
today my mother
calls me her sister

A magnolia tree, its base wide and its spire reaching well above the rooftop of the adjacent building, usually captures her attention—and mine too. But right now, and for the past week or so, she appears to be particularly fascinated by a certain row of windows on the topmost story. With a voice that more than anything is gentle and hopeful, the one who decades ago carried me into the world advises, "Maybe you'll want to move here, on the third floor."

Within a few seconds, I hear the half-whisper of a woman seated across from me, as if she could read my mind. "It's the view," she offers. I simply nod. 


Pleased to tie for third place in the recent Mandy's Pages Where the Tanka Prose Grows 2015 challenge! 

Note: A slight edit made in the first tanka—"walk" replaced with "pass," the word I used in my original draft. 


  1. Wow! This is one of my fave's of yours, Janet - albeit, not having read a lot of your tanka prose, thus far (and would love to see more) ... but the the content: so evocative, wistful, tender and accepting.


  2. Glad you like it, Wendy.

    I've not written a great deal of tanka prose - several pieces, I guess - but I'd like to write more.

  3. Excellent tanka prose. You can, you know, change that one word here if you like--it is after all, your poem, and not written in stone, even though it's been published! Lots of poets & writers keep right on revising their work even after publication.

    1. That's true, Jenny, and I have done that a time or two! Thanks for your comments!