Tanka 298, 300

298.
It’s the shock of it
that numbs the demons. You seek
the streets you know best
the mapless underworld where –
how odd – now you feel at home
4/29/22

300.
The skinny girl laughs
Embarrasses me all right
I tell you I tried
I tell you I did my best
The skinny girl laughs again
5/12/22

Vain Attempt

From the book Repairs, published in 2017.

Vain Attempt

Too-fine dark hair twisted up
in an undersized tight knot
on top of her head
revealing a hairline
zig-zagging around her head.
The parts fit together
but not very well.
I need roses
she says
nodding her off-balance head for emphasis
her eyes dark and small in her pale face.
I need roses.

4/7/17

Tanka 293, 296, 297

293.
my fake persona
your small awkward compliments
sincere and well-meant
how I found myself ashamed
for the first time in my life
4/1/22

296.
a twitching eyelid
in your choice of five tempos –
the neurosurgeon
offers his treatment options
recommending the polka.
4/14/22

297.
Nice floral print sheets.
Shrinkage controlled. Mercerized.
Wrinkle resistant.
Every little bit helps when
you’re sick in bed with the flu.
4/14/22

Constrain

From the book Repairs, published in 2017.

Constrain

Let’s begin. Good morning
Good night. Breakfast is on the table.
Finish your dinner.
We’re on a tight schedule. Tiptoe out of the house.
Bad day for both of us.
I try to accommodate your routines
I told you the truth. My own face frowning
hundreds of years from now
I’m not giving up hope of an afterlife.
Putting a few more things away
climbing a few more rungs. It’s complicated.

4/7/17

Tanka 289, 290, 291

289.
Strands of spaghetti.
A pot of water rolls and boils.
Sleet taps the window.
Steam freezes on the glass.
I scratch patterns in the ice.
2/10/22

290.
an oyster a pearl
a pirouette in delight
a demure necklace
a stylish afternoon tea
who remembers the oyster?
2/18/22

291.
Your knees in soapsuds
pressed against the green tile floor
your hands red and chilled
the brush catches on a crack.
You yank. The tile lifts. Oh shit.
2/18/22

Shadorma 263, Tanka 250

From the book Count Syllables on Your Fingers, 2020.

Shadorma 263

Leaves fell. Scrub
died back. Now I see
dark bare trees
how they do
raise their shapely arms how they
do finger the sky

12/16/19

From the book Writing Notebook 2021, published in 2022.

Tanka 250
a nuanced tirade
wearing a blue velvet dress.
its nap stands on end
her hands smooth it. Springing back
she hardly stops to draw breath
1/17/21