Scissors

First published in Frogpond 18:3, Autumn 1995, page 39. Written at LitEruption in Portland, Oregon in 1994. The opening poem is from Haiku, Volume 4, by R. H. Blyth. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1952, 1982, page 1119. I originally attributed the “white chrysanthemum” poem to Buson, as Blyth does (as have other subsequent translators), but the poem is actually by Natsume Sōseki—see Sōiku Shigematsus Zen Haiku: Poems and Letters of Natsume Sōseki, New York, Weatherhill, 1994, page 84.

 

 

before the white chrysanthemum

the scissors hesitate

a moment

 

Natsume Sōseki

 

All at once it comes to me that flowers should be thankful for doorbells. My sandalled feet shuffle to the door to admit my girlfriend. She comes in with the sunlight dappled by the ivy around the porch and trellis, then we leave the sun and move into the kitchen.

        “I have chrysanthemums for you,” I begin. “I was just about to trim them and put them in a vase.” She walks around the kitchen table to me, and wraps her arms around my neck.

 

and still we kiss—

scissors clatter

from the table to the floor

 

Michael Dylan Welch