Shichifukujin  /  七福神:
The Seven Lucky Gods

First published in Ribbons, the journal of the Tanka Society of America, in issue 9:1, Spring/Summer 2013.

It also appears in my Solitary tanka trifold. I first wrote this tanka sequence in January of 2007.   +   +

Daikokuten: God of Wealth and Trade

the door to the 7-Eleven

opens and closes several times

while I ponder—

will this dollar bill I’ve found

buy me the winning lottery ticket?

Ebisu: God of Fishermen and Workmen

fishing flies

work best, he tells me,

when tied in winter

through its long nights,

long and slow

Benzaiten: God of the Arts and Beauty

blossoms are starting—

today, someone has tied

a love poem

to my favourite tree,

that car-damaged plum

Bishamonten: God of Warriors

you raise your fist,

the entrance to hell;

lower it,

the entrance to heaven—

and pass me crushed sage

Jurōjin: God of Longevity

the rice balls

this first morning

assured me a long life

—now, in the evening,

we fret already over taxes

Fukurokuju: God of Wisdom, Luck, and Longevity Also

hands tucked in his sleeves

he asks for directions,

then promises

many birthdays—

the sun setting

Hotei: God of Happiness

trading morning grins again

me and the office guy

in the corner cubicle—

somehow he knows

the same secrets