Leading the Ferry

A kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Alice Frampton

First published in Tidepools: Haiku On Gabriola (Gabriola, British Columbia: Pacific-Rim Publishers, 2011). See my introduction to the book.

the sun just out—

a pod of orcas

leading the ferry Michael

in my wake

kindergarten field trip Alice

bonnets for sale

in the small-town gift shop

discounted for fall Michael

at the bookstore

a display of leaves Alice

patches on the moon—

the map hard to read

at the street corner Michael

the waitress drops her takeout

into a puddle Alice

Earth Day

the water line

in the empty pool Alice

news of Darfur

on the Internet Michael

in his text message

he tells me

he’s married Alice

the boy’s T-shirt says

I do all my own stunts Michael

mowing around

the Indian paintbrush,

my neighbor Alice

bear scat stained red

by blackberries Michael

Alaskan sunset—

eagle talons found

in the salmon’s back Alice

a hubcap propped up

by the side of the road Michael


the top of the wood stove

still warm Alice

a satellite lost

in the northern lights Michael

a gap in the fence

around the horse pasture . . .

the swaying grass Alice

for once mother doesn’t talk

about her ailments Michael

windy alley—

the teenager can’t light

his cigarette Michael

the firefighters spray

each other Alice

a late Christmas card

mixed in

with all the bills Michael

I down my vitamins

in a gulp of soda Alice

at the grocery store,

she buys his favourite candy bar

instead of hers Michael

freezer burn

on the wedding cake Alice

target practice—

the husband and wife

swapping guns Michael

the storehouse door

rusted shut Alice

rain catching

in the broken umbrella—

huddled tanager Michael

the quarterback calls

for a double reverse Alice

two scoops

of Tutti Frutti

melting on the pavement Michael

a layer of ice

on the wheelbarrow Alice

the snowplow driver

stops to ask

for directions Alice

late for mass

the trysting choirboys Michael

Monopoly game—

finally I land

on Free Parking Alice

taxes done

early this year Michael

border crossing—

cherry blossoms

line the road Alice

the prisoner of war

home at last Michael

Verses 1 through 13 written 18 July 2008, on the ferry from Tsawwassen to Duke Point, British Columbia.

Verses 14 through 16 written 18 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verse 17 written 19 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verses 18 and 19 written 20 July 2008, at Page’s Marina and Resort, Gabriola Island, British Columbia.

Verses 20 through 34 written 20 July 2008, on the ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen, British Columbia.

Verses 35 and 36 written 20 July 2008, just off the ferry in Tsawwassen, British Columbia.