Swirling Leaves

a kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Francine Porad

Written 4 May 1992 to 2 November 1993 by postal exchange. First published in Point Judith Light 3:1, April 1994, page 10.

faded war paint—

red leaves swirl about

the wooden indian Michael

noncommittal face

of the poetry juror Francine

blue notes

from old fingers . . .

the battered upright sways Michael

change of tempo

robins chirping Francine

quarter moon—

a bent bicycle wheel

left in the trash Michael

hardly recognizable

cleaned-out garage Francine

~ ~ ~

stretched bars

and blank canvas . . . waiting

for inspiration Francine

reflected in the stream

—forked lightning Michael

children zigzag

through the park, slide to swings

to purple dragon Francine

along the garden trellis

the cat’s path Michael


in the afternoon

our laughter Francine

starlight through the window-blind

. . . touching her breast scar Michael

violet shadows

in the mountain’s outline

in sharp relief Francine

vapour trail

splitting the moon Michael

predicted flurries

the anticipation

of New Year’s Eve Francine

the morning after—

confetti in the snow Michael

below the feeder

a squirrel searches

for sunflower seeds Francine

a trail of ants

to the syrup bottle Michael

~ ~ ~

breakfast on the patio

in spring sun—

smell of burnt toast Michael

“I just want to start

a flame in your heart” Francine

crashing surf—

the imprint of your body

deep in warm sand Michael

covered with grit

stranded seals Francine

pelting rain—

a candy bar wrapper

on a bus seat Michael

small town main street

a flag at each store front Francine

out of step

with the marching band

the baton twirler Michael

ten loops as it climbs

Blue Angel among the clouds Francine

sultry night—

the barman wipes away

wet circles Michael

summer rain

patterns in the pond Francine

roar of the midway—

the toddler’s balloon

rises in moonlight Michael

large spiders

gigantic webs Francine

~ ~ ~

new mother

sings to the infant,

“Big girls don’t cry!” Francine

sealing my sister’s birthday card

. . . first chill of autumn Michael

after the storm

on an incoming tide

shriveled jellyfish Francine

amid beach stones

a piece of polished glass Michael

icy yard

cluttered with falling leaves

roses standing tall Francine

ringing the doorbell

the florist Michael