Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1

TANKA

Eddie Dowe

The white moon opens
like a fist unclenching
to lift a baby.
I am but a dying man
but a dying man still lives.

 

Of course it will rain
when my murder finds me
standing at my door.
I hold a white umbrella,
mouth open like a puddle.

 

This poem sees nothing;
not the bald head of moon
nor the tongues of stars.
Why should it see anything?
Its poet is a blind man.

 

The dogwood at night,
the red maple as well
braced in a spring wind.
What death can the child know
surrounded by blooming trees?

 

Your hair runs like ink.
A dark animal in heat
howls in the garden.
The rain freezes on the grass.
Pull your child closer.

 

Katsu! Death arrives
like the Buddha in high heels
and a tight black skirt.
I kiss the air around me.
Religion never looked so good.

 

These words are my will.
Each syllable the breathing
of a cicada.
I leave the shell of this poem
on the mirror of this page.

 

The grand piano
sleeps on the terrace --
a white leaf of music.
I paint the sky with the sound
of these keys and this woman.

 

When I am dead
offer me a new name,
open my closed eyes.
I am now the buffalo
eating the stars in a dark field.

 


Eddie Dowe is a first year graduate student in the MFA program at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he also teaches 8th grade English.