World with No Corners

looking for love

through winter, spring,

summer, fall—

I find the world

has no corners

the sudden flash—

how can I write of a bomb

so long ago

so far away . . .

is it still burning?

why did she mail it,

this French postcard

from the past,

from a time when we

were not yet lovers

up late the night before

our flight to Japan—

again I zip

and then unzip

our suitcase

my muse returned

from vacation today,

leaving me

dormant seeds—

I water them with ink

“Something’s already

come between us,”

you whisper.

“Yes,” I reply,

“our clothes.”

you, tomorrow,

are moving away—

for me it is as if the moon

will never rise again

over the endless pines

unable to find

just the right words,

I find myself

starting a doodle

in my ex’s guestbook

are you coming?

I say as I pick up the phone—

but it is just a charity,

when I am in need,

asking for old clothing

what is the use of a fallow field?

is it, as they say, the calm

before the storm,

the grief

of an unused womb?

what’s left

of our sailboat’s



in the freighter’s


shopping bags

from the grocery store

stacked on the kitchen table—

the weight of your call

saying you’re not coming

the snow has retreated

farther up the mountain—

for now, we agree

not to talk

of divorce

new moon . . .

my son asks where,

and my wife says

it’s the heart

that can always see it

old enough now

to refuse my hugs,

my daughter tells me

that she loves me

that she always will

These tanka previously appeared in the following publications: American Tanka, Atlas Poetica, Conversations in Tanka, with Amelia Fielden (Port Adelaide, Australia: Ginninderra Press, 2014), Gusts, Red Lights, Ribbons, Skylark, Solitary Plover, Spent Blossoms (the 2015 Tanka Society of America members’ anthology, edited by Claire Everett), and Tangled Hair. In addition, “Something’s already come between us” first appeared on Graceguts in a haiga with artwork by Gary LeBel. Thanks to the editors of each of these publications for giving these poems a place in the world. These poems are also available to view or download as a PDF trifold.