Way of Haikai

      by Terry Ann Carter

The forest behind my home
could be the forest of Nikko, Nara,
Matsuyama. For the first time
I see creatures of the rain:
tree frog, beetle, slug.
I pick at the moss growing
over stones; l look under
its matted secrets, remember
Tokeiji Temple in Kamakura
where homeless women lived out
their lives as nuns. Where temple bells
sound against the night crickets
and ghosts decipher what they know
what nobody knows.

Chiyo-ni is here. Ono no Komachi, too.
They are teaching me island life.
I reach for sea water; it is cold
over my palms. From my window
a mason jar moon, just waiting
for first fireflies.


From Nothing But Sound and World, edited by Patrick Lane, Lantzville, British Columbia: Leaf Press, 2013.