Kathy Kituai


                                                        red wind chimes
                                                        hanging upside down
                                                        just out of reach
                                                        of plum blossom


                                                        my best friend
                                                        ebbing and flowing
                                                        partner and son
                                                        beached beside her bed
                                                        the tide almost out


                                                        before he leaps
                                                        does he test the rope
                                                        around his neck
                                                        this one-in-four farmer
                                                        who can’t sleep anymore?

                                                        not wanting to lose
                                                        anything you gave me
                                                        broken now
                                                        I place the bowl on the shelf
                                                        admire it in its new form


                                                        no lonely hut
                                                        no mountain village
                                                        I close the door
                                                        behind me to my room
                                                        well-lit with sunshine


                                                        he lies in bed
                                                        a monk in meditation
                                                        will he live or die?
                                                        petals from a slender stem
                                                        fall onto the windowsill


                                                        what prompts each iris
                                                        to raise such fragile petals
                                                        every winter
                                                        would that your father had seen
                                                        your eyes were soft … and as blue

                                                                   In memory of Geoff Williams

                                                        in the end
                                                        despite the winter
                                                        you push through
                                                        each layer of ice,
                                                        unfurl into a man


                                                        into your eyes looking
                                                        into mine
                                                        I no longer see the world
                                                        as a place to prey in


                                                       I keep watch
                                                       the night you wind back
                                                       lonely hours
                                                       to a time before we sat
                                                       close to the end of your days


                                                       palm leaves
                                                       I meant to sweep up
                                                       against the fence
                                                       into neater piles


                                                       the maps I pack
                                                       for the journey ahead
                                                       dreams I follow
                                                       along pot-holed gravel roads
                                                       leading back to myself



                                                "red wind chimes" Moonset, 2007, Editor's Choice
                                                "my best friend" Gusts, Issue 6, Fall/Winter, 2007
                                                "before he leaps" Eucalypt, 2009
                                                "not wanting to lose" Fuji Award Winnter, 2007
                                                "no lonely hut" The Saigyo Awards for Tanka, 2008, Honorable Mention
                                                "he lies in bed"" Sixty Sunflowers: Tanka Society of America Members'
                                                    Anthology for 2006-2007

                                                "what prompts each iris" Modern English Tanka, Vol. 2, No. 2, Winter,2007
                                                "in the end" In Two Minds, Modern English Tanka Press, 2008
                                                "looking" Modern English Tanka, Vol. 2, No. 4, Summer, 2007
                                                "I keep watch" Modern English Tanka, Vol. 2, No. 4, Summer, 2007
                                                "palm leaves" Modern English Tanka, Vol. 2, No. 2, Winter, 2007
                                                "the maps I pack", Straggling Into Winter, Interactive Publications Pty Ltd.,
                                                     Carindale, Queensland, Australia, 2007.


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