Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Autumn 2006, vol 4 no 3

TANKA

Janet Lynn Davis


a wasp
inhabits the feeder
I start to refill—
my days, so full
with plans I must change

 

tomorrow
tomorrow, always
tomorrow. . .
these mountains of clutter
have begun giving birth

 

a pallid
middle-aged woman
finds herself
experimenting
with tanka

 

like the night-blooming
cereus
in desert darkness
for one moment
will I have my day?

 

I think of buying
a lily
this week,
my deluded body
clinging to spring

 

impulsively
I lop the old hibiscus
down to its base;
what need I must have
to challenge my faith

 

I avert my eyes
in the clinic corridor—
there, the same doctor
who years earlier
misdiagnosed me, twice

 

trodden blossom
reawakened through illness—
determined
to make up for the time
she lost while well

 

the thick froth
of buttercups
    just beyond
       the emptiness
       of a retention pond

 

before I rise
a slow rain on the patio. . .
I linger
longer than usual
in the warm shower

 

in love
over vegetable curry
I can’t stop staring. . .
this brown rice
isn’t one bit mushy

 

she collects
rocks, shells, quarters, pennies
. . . also seeds
for her small brother,
to teach him about life

 

her newborn face
smaller than your open hand;
this daughter
has no idea yet
how safe she is

 

I rarely gaze
at the moon,
one thing in my life
I know
will never change

 

monarch
     how I’d love to write
          about you
     but that would be so trite
so, go, fly away

 


Janet Lynn Davis's passion for the written word emerged during her childhood and later worked its way into her college studies and career. She has focused on poetry only in recent years, however, and "met" tanka in summer 2005. Her free verse and tanka can be found here and there on the Internet and in print.