Friday, October 21, 2016

The thin ring

the thin ring
she won't let anyone
remove …
even though she's long past
recalling its history

—American Tanka, August 2016: Issue 27

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Holes; I smooth

in the ceiling and floor—
my father
still clings to the walls
of the family house

Ribbons, Fall 2015

I smooth
soothing gel on his skin
…...the rash
of old-age uncertainty
more difficult to quell

Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2016

The sale of the house is scheduled to conclude next week!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tanka Prose

Genus Dianthus

In my hand, a memento I consider purchasing from the little shop at the botanical gardens. "Do you know what flower this is?" I ask. The kindly man at the desk seems eager to help me. "Hmm, it appears to be a pink. Not all pinks are pink, you know; some are red, for instance," he offers. "And are you aware that the name pink comes from pinking shears—the serrated edges similar to the edges of the petals?"  

(Can't say I am. Ever-the-novice gardener, I don't even realize at this moment that I have variously colored clumps of pinks, which I have only ever referred to as Dianthus, in front of my own house.)  

I putter around the shop a little longer. Then the man shows me a page in a thick reference book, enthusiastically pointing to an illustration that bears a resemblance to the petite flower on this souvenir"Look!" Before I leave, back to my life far away from shaded trails and lush displays of flora, I remind myself that attentiveness like this doesn't exist just anywhere.

by a local artist
a dish so small
it holds nothing
but a memory

Haibun Today Vol. 10, Number 3, September 2016


The location: Asheville Botanical Gardens.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tanka Prose

In evening's hollow

I've always called it the dog bird, ever since we've lived at this house. Those nippy sounds that never seem to cease or vary in tone, the same long cry cycling over and over during spring-summer months. It's nothing like the melodic morning trill of the cardinal or the confident crow's caw. And it's loud, resonating clearly through double-paned windows. Why, I ask, must this bird haunt me—in that sacred space between dusk and the deepness of night when I wish to crawl into myself, to be left alone with my own thoughts and prayers, to give my rawest self free rein before I slip into sleep. 

There has to be more than one of those creatures lurking out there, making all that racket; I know that. Then one night, something is different. This time, each churring cry is followed with a faint response from somewhere in the woods beyond. The exchange goes on the whole time while I remain awake in bed. But whether there are two of them or dozens of them, to my mind it's still the (one) dog bird.  

I had given up long ago trying to identify this curious, strong-willed creature, much less ever coming face to face with it. But finally, just down the street, the answer awaits me.

my neighbor
says it's a chuck-will's-widow,
that nightjar—
how finding a name for things
eases us through the hours

Haibun Today, Vol. 10, Number 3, September 2016


After writing this piece, I stopped hearing the dog bird.