Way of Haikai

by Terry Ann Carter

The forest behind my home

could be the forest of Nikko, Nara,

Matsuyama. For the first time

I see creatures of the rain:

tree frog, beetle, slug.

I pick at the moss growing

over stones; l look under

its matted secrets, remember

Tokeiji Temple in Kamakura

where homeless women lived out

their lives as nuns. Where temple bells

sound against the night crickets

and ghosts decipher what they know

what nobody knows.

Chiyo-ni is here. Ono no Komachi, too.

They are teaching me island life.

I reach for sea water; it is cold

over my palms. From my window

a mason jar moon, just waiting

for first fireflies.

From Nothing But Sound and World, edited by Patrick Lane, Lantzville, British Columbia: Leaf Press, 2013.