Thursday, January 26, 2017

Bold new signs

bold new signs
at the nursing home
about guns—
I look for glimmers of life
behind the glass doors

Ripples in the Sand, 2016 Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Long kidskin gloves

long kidskin gloves
she wore in the 60s—
on my bare arm
is this just a freckle
or another age spot?

Moonbathing, fall 2016

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tanka Prose


We knew it could happen at any time. But the manicured evergreens, that stately magnolia tree, no stray leaf or seedpod, said otherwise. As did the covered porch that sheltered us, its graceful rocking chairs always occupied on best-weather days. And the soft whoosh-click of the automatic glass doors. Then once inside, greetings and smiles, swirls of life in the aquarium down the hall, sunlight squeezing between the slats of venetian blinds.

We knew it could happen at any time. But Christmas came as usual, though this was the year we thought it might not. And each day, comfort-food aromas arising from the kitchen, a subtle soap scent from the laundry. Cheerful floral carpeting that muffled the brisk steps of workers and visitors. The nameplate affixed on the wall by her door. 

We knew it could happen at any time....

without fanfare
residents disappear
from the home
when their time is up—
rooms tidied and swept clean

Ribbons, Fall 2016

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tanka Prose


This vintage box from London, dusty enough for me to draw on with a finger, holds more appeal for me than what's inside it. I wish the circumference of my sister's head were smaller so she'd claim the hat for herself, as she did in the case of our grandmother's mink stole, which I also didn't want. That would be the simplest thing, and I wouldn't have to hear the tone of disappointment in my father's voice when no one takes it.

glorious fur,
once 'the rage'—
my ever-so-quick touch
as if it might bite

I'm almost a stranger in the family house, which as it turns out is a cross between museum and antique store. I want little and need even less. Yet every now and then, while sorting through and emptying the house's contents, I feel my face positively gleam. As soon as my brother removes the decorative plates from the rack up high in the kitchen, I grab the blue-and-white one with the charming, homey winter scene, always a favorite. But my silent groan as I take a closer look: small figures on a mission to catch a turkey, kneeling in pure snow, yanking at tail feathers. (I remind myself that I have eaten not one bite of Thanksgiving turkey for twelve years.) And then, that elaborately etched serving piece: proper country gentlemen on their proper horses, accompanied by, yes, a pack of hounds. A fox chase. How did I, averse to all things gruesome, never before notice that?

I pause to consider how I came to be this way—this supposed bleeding heart, a label my brother boldly slapped on me when I was only a small child. (It would be years before I would understand the term, however.) After a few moments of hesitation, I decide to bring my bounty home, in the hope that at some point I will forget what I have seen.

her hostess tray
of hammered aluminum
always looked old . . .
now that it truly is,
I clean it to newness

Haibun Today, Vol. 10, No. 4, December 2016