Cupcake Papers

The following poem first appeared in Geppo XLI:4, August–October 2016, page 5, and was selected for commentary in the following issue, XLII:1, November 2016–January 2017, page 15.

cupcake papers

blow from the kitchen counter—

summer’s end

I think this is a lovely image for the end of summer. Someone is baking cupcakes—maybe for a birthday party. A door or window is open to let in the summer air to cool the kitchen. The empty cupcake holders are lined up on the counter ready to be filled when a slight breeze whisks them off in one swoop. Maybe the breeze has a hint of autumn in it, and the author is reminded that summer will soon be ending.

—Patricia J. Machmiller

The cupcakes suggest a celebration or a party. But all good things come to an end—including summer and unlimited cupcakes. A haiku of rueful good humor.

—Joan Zimmerman

We say in Japanese culture that autumn can be heard by the way the wind blows. The autumn section of the Kokinwakashū (914 AD) begins with this tanka by Fujiwara no Toshiyuki: “to my eyes it is / not clear that autumn has come / but the chill whisper / of the invisible wind / startles me to awareness.” Here in this haiku, the third line gives meaning to the wind-blown cupcake papers from the kitchen counter. I assume the author is making cupcakes, but before he/she could pour the batter, the wind has snatched the cupcake papers away from the counter. The mischievous wind has not only taken away the cupcake papers but also the vacation time when our grandchildren can visit us more frequently.

—Emiko Miyashita