Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2009, vol 7 no 1


Cynthia Rowe


afternoon sun
grapes on a bedside table

My brother wears a blue gown with a matching tube poking from his nose. In a strangled voice, he tells me he fears drowning whenever they feed him. In a desperate attempt at light-heartedness, I babble about my hair. Formerly blonde, I now sport chestnut locks. The strands are long, straight. "Like the lead singer's in the Seekers," I say, forcing a wonky smile. I realise I have come empty-handed. My right palm feels itchy.

His partner stands beside his pillow. Her glance towards his chemo induced alopecia and back to me tells me she is there to combat unseemliness. "Your brother wouldn't stand for dyed hair," she says, as if he has already passed, or at least gone deaf. Surprised, I see him wink. I remember how he used to ride bareback, no saddle, no boots on his feet. Daring the odds. I smile more easily now.

private room —
butterflies beating
at the window


Cynthia Rowe Cynthia Rowe has a degree in French and English from the University of Melbourne. Her haiku, haibun and tanka have appeared in Yellow Moon, Eucalypt, Stylus, FreeXpresSion, Positive Words, Paper Wasp, Tea Towel Tanka, Famous Reporter, Jack Stamm Haiku Anthology, Shamrock Haiku Journal, Page Seventeen, Kokako, Chrysanthemum, Moonset, The Heronís Nest, Haibun Today and Modern English Tanka. She is president of the Eastern Suburbs (Bondi Writers) Region of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. She enjoys workshopping with the Red Dragonflies (Aka tombŰ) haiku group and writes novels for relaxation.