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 mantel 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