Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2006, vol 4 no 2

TANKA

Janet Brof

 

you arranged it so
each new love would admire
those who came before--
       as if you knew we would stand
       at your bedside side by side

 

my little pupil hints
I could pray
--as Sarah did--
for a son
like him

 

twiggy
branches
on a lemon sky--
a sadness
evaporates

 

crowded fruit stall--
a saxophone wafts
the girl from Ipanema
into the chill
cornflower sky

 

you stopped talking--
but your gray cat has just
climbed in from the fire escape
     and is slowly stroking
     some thin volumes we loved

 

sitting down
after the party--
only then do I remember
      her swollen feet
      my childhood Mary

 

in the yard
the women are hanging
their husbands' long pajamas
     I'd bought fresh peaches
     but you did not come to see me

 

she recoiled
when I tried to thank her--
the stranger
who did me
a favor

 

I love you he said
but I don't adore you--
fetching his wool knit cap
     waving it aloft    he stepped out
     in the clear blue

 

boating
the Amazon night
bird watching    I spy
the root of
my pain

 


Janet Brof writes, "These are my first tanka. Writing haiku--which I began after a trip to the Amazon two years ago--has returned me to writing poetry again after a hiatus of some years. Among my old and new publications: Doors and Mirrors: Fiction and Poetry from Spanish America, 1920-1970, Grossman/Viking, 1972 (co-editor and translator), and poems in NY Quarterly, Negative Capability, New England Quarterly, Frogpond, The Heron's Nest, Mayfly and moonset. In the seventies, I lived for six years in Mexico and have been connected to Latin America since then--to its literature, politics and people. New York City is my home. I tutor writing. I have been a "tanguera"--an avid tango dancer. Writing haiku and related forms is perhaps taking over."