Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2005, vol 3 no 3

TANKA

Andrew Riutta

 

what's it matter
if you dream in color
or black and white
you'll wake and find the backyard
looks just the same as always



that we should
need maps of cemeteries
to find those once loved . . .
I pause and breathe deeply
the scent of new earth



my inheritance
for being a loving son:
a little time
to watch my own skies darken
with the departure of birds



beside lilacs
she walks on broken glass
to photograph
in black and white
steps to the asylum



every road
that ends in fallen leaves
leads to you . . .
the moon in your cauldron
the earth on your knees



after years
of going east west up down
I shift the weight
of an unfinished dance
and watch my daughter boogie


every man
must have a tool shed
or a small garage
where he can corner the ways
of growing old and tired


Andrew Riutta lives in northern Michigan, along with his wife, Lori, and their three year old daughter, Issabella. He grew up on the shores of Lake Superior, surrounded by freighters and agates; orchards and farms. When not writing or reading poetry, Andrew loves to sew hand-stitched bags out of canvas and leather. He also loves listening to wide band and shortwave radio. Mostly, he loves learning from his daughter about the world.

Riutta brings a fresh voice to American tanka in his use of language, the subject matter and setting of his poems, his careful and artful balance of concrete detail and emotive force, nuance, and suggestion. Often gritty, his landscapes and incidents come directly from American life. --Michael McClintock


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