Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2008, vol 6 no 4


White Daisies
Sharon Dean


Merly is being a pain in the arse. She and I have known each other since we were eight; we've always gotten along. Yet here we are on a trip to Japan in cherry blossom season and she's whingeing 24/7. If the food isn't making her queasy, she's sick of everybody being so polite. Snaps at me for taking so many photos.

This afternoon Merly's feet are tired. Exhaust fumes are making her cough. Spotting a chashitsu not too far down a bustling side street, I link my arm in hers. Coax her off the main road into the cramped, smoke-filled room, where a man inside a horseshoe-shaped bar is brewing various types of tea.

brush strokes on silk ...
horses bite
each other's necks

Perhaps it's the informal atmosphere, but something thaws in Merly's demeanour. "I'm sorry I'm being so horrible," she says. "I don't want to spoil this trip, but I've never felt so out of sorts." I give her a hug and we drink, the small white cups warming our hands.

Kyoto tea shop
white daisies
in a silver bucket

The thaw is temporary. Next day, my friend begins snarling at school children who approach us to practice their English.

We've only been home a few days, however, when Merly is given some startling news. Even though she'd been told she could never have a baby, she is several weeks' pregnant. With twins.

Hiroshima Park —
children strike
the peace bell


Sharon Dean Sharon Dean lives on the far north coast of New South Wales, Australia, where she's nurturing two kids, a veggie garden and a PhD thesis. Her haiku and haibun appear in all the usual journals but sometimes pop up in unexpected places such as gardening expos, meditation CDs and river ferries. This year one of Sharon's haiku came in second in the 9th Annual paper wasp Jack Stamm Award.