doves

Petals in the Light

rose



butterfly


Tanka
Last updated August, 2017



a sea breeze
carries a celestial song
from seashore
to sunset
a brilliant glow

First Published Cattails September 2016, In memoriam of Jane Reichhold
I promised to visit
but kept postponing
until I finally saw
the dress she raved about
. . . in her casket

First Published Moonbathing, Issue 15, Fall/Winter 2016
a squirrel
buries the almond
I gave him
then returns yet again…
another knock on my door

First Published Cattails September 2016
on the mountaintop
the sunset’s crimson glow
passing so quickly
these thirty-three years
since we said I do

First Published in Red Lights, Featured Tanka, Vol 13, No. 1, January 2017
gunshots
blast the racial divide
on the streets
splattered blood
neither black nor white

First Published in Skylark Winter 2016, Vol 4. Issue 2
the log
his wife kept
still hangs
on the wall, blank ...
a branch brushes the window

First Published in Ribbons, Fall 2016: Volume 12, Number 3
the time span
between lucid moments…
a butterfly’s flight
in and out
of an open window

First Published in TSA Members Anthology 2016, Ripples in the Sand
raindrops chanting
on stained-glass windows
the intensity
of paper-thin petitions
in the prayer basket

First Published in TSA Members Anthology 2016, Ripples in the Sand
I read
a new book of poetry
from right to left
my late mother’s hand
turns the page

First Published red lights, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2017
the baby
in my dream
reaches out…
on one cheek,
a soft whoosh of air

First Published red lights, Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2017
I try to wean myself
off this little white pill
as teeth fall out
one by one
a pit bull tightens its grip

First Published in Ribbons Tanka Café, Fall 2016: Volume 12, Number 3
sorting through
past career clothes
I feel it
even after ten years
this knot, still here


First Published in American Tanka, February 2016: Issue 26
their deaths
on the first and last day
of September…
a cardinal’s song
tips the equinox

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 5:2, March, 2016
a plastic bank
in the thrift store
takes me back
to when I last saw him...
I inhale my father


First Published in Ribbons, Winter 2016: Volume 12, Number 1
lunching
at our favorite café,
a truce…
mother always told me
chocolate fixes everything

First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Café, Winter 2016: Volume 12, Number 1
on the mirror
the last clear space the mist
hasn’t reached…
that look of recognition
still in her eyes

First Published in Skylark4:1, Summer 2016
wheelchair patients
congregate in the hallway
so many words
dancing in my head
waiting to be set free

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 5:3, June, 2016
the nurse
draws more blood
from my vein…
a dried-up leaf
curls into itself

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 5:3, June, 2016
the door
shuts behind him…
in sunlight
a symphony of butterflies
free on the summer air

First published in Cattails May 2016
ten years ago
I surrendered my keys…
it all came back today
driving around the store
in a handicapped cart

First Published in Ribbons Spring/Summer 2016: Volume 12, Number 2
seventeen
ruby-red tubes
of my deepest secrets
sent out for analysis…
do I really want to know

First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2016 – Featured Tanka section
little hands
gripping little hands
soften
the bars of autism…
silence in the stars

First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2016
mothers day,
our long-awaited
heart to heart
over coffee and doughnuts
. . . at her grave site

First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 12, No. 2, June 2016

Subsequently published May 13, 2017 on Neverending Story, One Man's Maple Moon

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

母親節,
我們期待已久
心對心交談
咖啡和甜甜圈
... 在她的墓地

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

母亲节,
我们期待已久
心对心交谈
咖啡和甜甜圈
... 在她的墓地
saying a prayer
he sends his manuscript
to an editor…
a butterfly
opens its wings

First Published Frameless Sky, Issue 4, June 2016
trying
to cram more shoes
into my suitcase…
I wonder if heaven
is big enough for everyone

First published in Moonbathing, Issue 14, Spring/Summer 2016
streaks of orange
trim a yellow tulip...
I flip
my comforter
into butterflies

First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Café, Spring/Summer 2016: Volume 12, Number 2
shopping done,
I curl up in the pew
and close my eyes…
when did Christmas
become such a burden?

First Published in Moonbathing, Issue 13, Fall 2015
my pile of journals
crammed with thoughts
to Jesus…
a snow-laden branch
about to crack

First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 12, No. 1, January 2016
mother's aura
in this deep-rooted
hug…
just for a moment,
I feel the sun

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:4, September 2015
endless words
spin fast around her
building a wall
no human can scale…
she doesn't notice me leave

First Published in Cattails September 2015
I blow dust
from an old polaroid
buried in the attic…
it seems like yesterday
dad told me to smile

First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 12, No. 1, January 2016
the empty nest
outside my window
on move-in day
another fledgling
flies out of my dream

First Published Cattails January 2016
officers
knock on the door,
arrest him again…
an injured blue jay
flaps in a cardboard box


First Published in TSA Members Anthology 2016, Ripples in the Sand


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I touch the Moon

a silk blouse
hides my tattered layers…
waiting for a patch
I feel another thread
unravel

that glance
when my neighbor walks in
and sits across from me
in the waiting room…
the psychiatrist calls my name

a calm
like lilac and lavender
soothes me
until I'm hooked…
a bitter slave to xanax

my sixty-fifth birthday
the photo album opened
to thirty-fifth,
lots of laughing…
I ask my husband where is she

from the balcony
I touch the moon...
my prayers
just an arm's length
from heaven

that phone call
from the baby I gave up
years ago…
a new tulip
opens to the sun

Sequence First Published in Ribbons, Fall 2015, Volume 11, Number 3
a butterfly
loses its way...
memories
of my childhood
scatter into the abyss

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
musical notes
sprinkled into the air
unfold the blues...
so many smiles
in his money jar

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:4, September 2015
seizures,
tremors,
as she withdraws
from narcotics…
and she's only one day old

First Published in Skylark 3:2, Winter 2015
the turkey down to bones,
I pack up leftovers
on Thanksgiving Day
a nurse attaches dinner
to his IV

First Published in Skylark 3:2, Winter 2015
our first walk
in the desert, he pulls prickles
from my hands…
how easily we've strayed
from the path

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 5:1, December 2015
another branch
from our family tree
broken off…
how many more years
will be lost to the silence


First Published in A Hundred Gourds 5:1, December 2015
barely breathing,
on the cusp of death…
outside her window
a white-tailed fawn
takes its first steps

First Published in Skylark 3:2, Winter 2015, Runner Up in the Skylark's Nest
fingering
my rosary,
I lose track…
why is it so hard
to empty myself

First Published in “Spent Blossoms“ Tanka Society of America Members' Anthology 2015
cigarette in hand
a mother takes her baby
for a stroll…
can a self-absorbed diaper
ever be changed?

First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Café, Fall 2015, Volume 11, Number 3
time vanishes
under this new moon
a gull’s cry
rippling with the waves
toward the horizon

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:3, June 2015
they still come
these butterflies
singed with fear
under my skin…
how do I quell the fire?

First Published in Moonbathing, Issue 12, Spring/Summer 2015
Luminous Beads

the signs
I didn’t notice
my thoughts
change direction
at every light

people used to bicker
over the color of my hair
black or brown
now they whisper
about my disfigured face

my doctor says
I'm in the one percent
who won't fully recover...
the sudden dip
of a Bell's Sparrow

luminous beads
fading on my rosary
at day’s end
a prayer plant
folds its leaves

beachside music,
we lay our heads back
absorbing
the ambience of stars…
why did we wait so long

Sequence ”Luminous Beads” First Published in Red Lights, Vol. 11, No. 2, June, 2015
growing old
we watch our shadows merge
below the bridge
the splash of a gull
wrinkles us

First Published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2015, Volume 11, Number 2
slanted words
hover over themselves…
one eye shut
I separate The Good
The Bad and The Ugly


First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Café, Spring/Summer 2015, Volume 11, No. 2
this light side
of the spring equinox
on our anniversary
we buy each other
dollar store gifts

First Published in Ribbons, Spring/Summer 2015, Volume 11, Number 2
dangling
from the church ceiling
a spider
weaves life
into her funeral

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
viewing the moon
from another perspective
faraway from home
at last I see
what my mother endured

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
the word
that eluded me
for three days
comes to light…
my Crucifix speaks to me

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
my eyes
dance with the stars
in the city of angels
the moon
smiles back at me

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
tremors
sketch me
into seclusion…
will it ever
go away?

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
the coqui
sings to his whistle…
flirting
in the moonlight
with my husband

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
a butterfly
loses its way...
memories
of my childhood
scatter into the abyss

First published in Undertow Tanka Review, Issue 6, July, 2015
pages
in a family tree
cobwebbed
in the attic
we all become ancestors

First Published in Ribbons Spring/Summer 2014: Volume 10, Number 2



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saying good-bye…
the bits and pieces
I forgot to savor
tucked away
in a seashell

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:2 March 2015
alone
in an autumn sunrise
daylight filters
through empty spaces…
an oak begins to bare itself

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:2 March 2015
another collision…
I reach into my purse
for the keys
then bury them
with my independence

First Published in Ribbons, Winter 2015: Volume 11, Number 1
the moat
I cry around myself
fills with flotsam…
reaching out
my shadow disappears

First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Café, Winter 2015: Volume 11, Number 1
half asleep
I feel the bed bounce
as if our cat had jumped up…
paw prints
on his box of ashes

First Published in Skylark, A Tanka Journal 3:1, Summer 2015
Runner-up in The Skylark’s Nest
the slump
of fallen wires
after the storm
I carry the moon
on my back

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:3, June 2015
the silent
glide of a pen
shields my face…
why is it so hard
to say it out loud

First Published in Cattails May, 2015
The Hush

a tainted cloud
still hovers over that day
my baby died
when I felt so afraid and alone
...will I ever forgive myself

bare branches
of an old oak
in pelting rain...
I forget
another prayer

words
once danced
on my tongue...
the hush
beneath a waning moon

the polar vortex
sculpts Niagara Falls
into walls of ice ...
how long until a tear
will touch my cheek again

Sequence First Published in Ribbons Fall 2014: Volume 10, Number 3
the dandelion
trapped beneath a rock…
a swell of tears
from the child not picked
at the adoption fair

First Published in Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
a sliver of wood
from Jesus' Cross
lost
with my father's death
the beam of a child

First Published in Ribbons, Tanka Cafe, Spring/Summer 2014: Volume 10, No. 2
thirteen years
crammed into a U-Haul…
we start over
with everything
but a destination

First Published in Skylark, A Tanka Journal 3:1, Summer 2015
mist rises
from the surface
of the street…
a trail of addiction
behind my mask

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 4:1 December 2014
a gull
snatches bits of bread
in mid-air
my thoughts swerve
into the haze

First Published in Frameless Sky, Issue 1, December 2014
endless meows
from the blue-eyed feral
under my empty sill…
how do I tell him
Pio’s gone to heaven

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
that window
we escaped through
fifty years ago
finally boarded up…
my fears ready for demolition

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
wild flowers
squabble with the wind
schizophrenia
traps him
between two voices

First Published in A Hundred Gourds 3:4 September 2014
wedged in fear
I skid into the light
my relief
as I surpass my mother’s age
at her death

First Published in Bright Stars 4, An Organic Tanka Anthology, M. Kei Editor
under observation
in the psychiatric ward…
a super moon
fades in and out
of periwinkle rain

First Published in Moonbathing Issue 11 (2014)
the eviction notice
still taped to the door…
a pigeon
carries my dream
through whispering meadows

First Published in Ribbons Tanka Cafe, Fall 2014:Volume 10, Number 3
fear steals
my mother’s eyes
on her deathbed
rain clouds overtake
the blue sky

First Published in Bright Stars 4, An Organic Tanka Anthology, M. Kei Editor
a cluster of funerals
probes my heart
in early spring
crocuses open
only to be buried in white

First Published in Bright Stars 4, An Organic Tanka Anthology, M. Kei Editor
my wedding album
replaces the memories
I’ve lost…
this empty space
between pages

First Published in Undertow Tanka Review Issue #3, December 2014
children jumping
into the dry crunch
of maple laughter…
behind the rustle of curtains
a little boy on crutches

First Published in Undertow Tanka Review Issue #3, December 2014
stained glass music
slips away on a whisper
my sins
carry me back
to His Cross

First Published in Bright Stars 4, An Organic Tanka Anthology, M. Kei Editor, July 2014
the Lord lifted her
from the blizzard
held her close to His Heart
and carried her into the warmth
of heavenly light

First Published in Bright Stars 4, An Organic Tanka Anthology, M. Kei Editor, July 2014
my friend
asks if I’ve had a stroke
a bell flower
droops
into my reflection

First Published in Undertow Tanka Review Issue #3, December 2014
her soul teeters
on the edge of this world
afraid of addiction
her long stare at morphine
left by a hospice nurse

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
smoke billowed
through the treetops
I can only imagine
what I looked like
as a baby

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
the constant crash
of waves on rocks…
surges
in our argument
topple a sandcastle

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014
her chest rising
as if she took a breath
in her casket
can she see the torment
in my parched heart

First Published Undertow Tanka Review Issue 2 October 2014





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