a kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Elizabeth St Jacques

Written 14 January 1992 to 27 July 1993 by postal exchange. First published in Lynx XI:1, February 1996, pages 36–37.

old folks’ home—

a dried spider

falls from the stucco Michael

a rubber ball bounces

deep into his dream Elizabeth

country road—

the shape of the dandelion

before I blow Michael

slowly through tall grass

a slithering of darker green Elizabeth


the look of surprise

when he steps on the rake Michael

a sheepish grin

for the extra birthday candle Elizabeth

~ ~ ~

murmuring a wish

with the falling star

. . . the bag lady Elizabeth

home late, he hesitates

at the creaky stair Michael

last night’s horror

wakes me with a scream . . .

little Dracula Elizabeth

tossing and turning

the darker brown of new soil Michael

moist and warm

in my palm

my newborn’s pale caul Elizabeth

sparrows fly off . . .

hailstones bobbing in the birdbath Michael

the Frisbee’s circle

still so dry

after early snow Elizabeth

sign on the bait-and tackle shop door:

gone ice fishing Michael

lost in the storm . . .

the lack of warmth

in his embrace Elizabeth

after lovemaking

she corrects his grammar Michael

in crimson letters

the newspaper headline:


first day of school—

the mulatto first-grader Michael

~ ~ ~

open window—

the breeze billows in

with a yellow leaf Michael

sprigs of mint

surround the turkey’s breast Elizabeth

tourists in sun hats—

the jellyfish

under the pier Michael

sunset . . . the beggar

counting silver coins Elizabeth

gathering clouds—

a lost child

joins the parade Michael

marching on Remembrance Day

for her three dead sons Elizabeth

the wardrobe open

on Christmas Eve—

the shine still on his boots Michael

discarded tree . . .

the bluejay finds some tinsel Elizabeth

a sudden flash

in still water—

a salmon’s silver tail Michael

coming up for air

the pink balloon Elizabeth

summer breeze—

the puddle-frog leaps

from the preschooler’s hand Michael

smack in the center of the bull’s-eye

his spitball Elizabeth

~ ~ ~

able yet

to pop a grape into his mouth

. . . the old man smiles Elizabeth

above the rapids,

the paper boat Michael

the light bounce

of the willow limb

. . . evening squirrel Elizabeth

a downy feather drifts

into the dog dish Michael

something small

in the evening pond . . .

the tremble of the moon Elizabeth

floating away

the fallen cocoon Michael