七福神 / Shichifukujin: The Seven Lucky Gods

I first wrote this tanka sequence in January of 2007. It was published in Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America, in issue 9:1, Spring/Summer 2013. It also appears in my Solitary tanka trifold. Click to enlarge the picture at the end.


Daikokuten: The God of Wealth


the door to the 7-Eleven
opens and closes several times
while I ponder—
will this dollar bill I’ve found
buy me the winning lottery ticket?


Ebisu: Fisherman

fishing flies
work best, he tells me,
when tied in winter
through its long nights,
long and slow


Benzaiten: Arts

blossoms are starting—
today, someone has tied
a love poem
to my favourite tree,
that car-damaged plum


Bishamonten: Warriors

you raise your fist,
the entrance to hell;
lower it,
the entrance to heaven—
and pass me crushed sage


Jurōjin: Long Life


the rice balls
this first morning
assured me a long life
—now, in the evening,
we fret already over taxes


Fukurokuju: Long Life Also

hands tucked in his sleeves
he asks for directions,
then promises
many birthdays—
the sun setting


Hotei: Happiness

trading morning grins again
me and the office guy
in the corner cubicle—
somehow he knows
the same secrets