Between Night Hills

      A kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Tanya McDonald

First published in Frogpond 39:3, Autumn 2016, pages 50–51. The first 32 verses were originally written on 9 May 2010 on the road from Newport, Oregon to Woodinville, Washington (a 335-mile road trip, after we both attended the Oregon Poets Concord), with the final four verses written on 31 July 2010 at Farrel-McWhirter Park in Redmond, Washington.


trailer park     a flat of seedlings on a rusted Chevy                                                            Michael

        ospreys nesting on the new cell tower                                                                        Tanya

the waterfall’s fall straight into the ocean                                                                           Michael

        winded     halfway up the lighthouse steps                                                                 Tanya

easing away from the rumble strip     day moon                                                                  Michael

        a twig balances on the telephone wire                                                                        Tanya



among the bills a baby shower invitation                                                                            Tanya

        the settlers’ cemetery freshly mowed                                                                          Michael

threading one daisy stem into another     the principal                                                       Tanya

        a satellite streaks between night hills                                                                         Michael

Mother stirs her tea with a garage sale spoon                                                                    Tanya

        the obsidian netsuke cracked on the mantle                                                                Michael

a faded blue ribbon from the county fair egg toss                                                               Tanya

        in the airplane magazine an air sickness bag                                                              Michael

clicking past the Discovery Channel     Shark Week                                                            Tanya

        the sex ed book overdue at the library                                                                        Michael

“Nights in White Satin” drifts through our candle smoke                                                   Tanya

        a box of love letters down from the attic                                                                    Michael



in front of the old couple’s house     a pair of snow angels                                                Michael

        melting icicles     the vacancy sign flickers on                                                            Tanya

the pachinko parlour after closing     a jangle of keys                                                         Michael

        the Get Out of Jail Free card dog-eared                                                                       Tanya

on the dining room table the widow refolds her flag                                                           Michael

        another day crossed off on the bridges calendar                                                         Tanya

in my dream top down in the carwash                                                                                 Michael

        a moth lands on her discarded blouse                                                                         Tanya

the construction crane in pieces on an 18-wheeler                                                              Michael

        laburnum blossoms dangling against blue sky                                                             Tanya

a strawberry stuck in the milkshake straw                                                                            Michael

        scenic route     the text message unsent                                                                      Tanya



at the top of the ramp, the skateboarder straightens her ponytail                                       Tanya

        beads scattering from a friendship bracelet                                                                 Michael

a Frisbee sails over the neighbor’s fence                                                                              Tanya

        my online banking password     ah, I remember it                                                         Michael

cherry petals land in the baptismal font                                                                                Tanya

        a rainbow flag flown at city hall                                                                                     Michael