Tanka

by Mimi White

when I saw the boat
tipped on its side
a ghost entered our story
it did not matter
that the tide would right it

          Tanka (from a series) 1/12/14

when lilacs bloom
my heart will break open
my father’s dead face
buried in every blossom
from branch to branch he went

          Tanka (from a series) 5/6/14

I had not seen
the whitetailed deer until
they ran high stepping
through the sweet new grasses
why just a glimpse, I cried out

          Tanka (from a series) 5/8/14

an oriole in the orchard
Mother’s illness comes unbidden
thirty years and more
she races back
breathless, in a hurry, leaving

          Tanka (from a series) 5/22/14

when I resist
Autumn’s fierce clarity
a sparrow pecks in the dirt
reminding me to feed
this hunger I have for less

          Tanka (from a series) 5/27/14

how many years
can we live on an island
carry what we need
in a small tin boat
leave everything else behind

          Tanka (from a series) 5/30/14

Mimi White is collaborating with Australian artists Kerryn Forster and Jessie Stanley, each of them exploring the word “contain.” These tankas were written in response to that project.

Mimi White is collaborating with Australian artists Kerryn Forster and Jessie Stanley, each of them exploring the word “contain.” These tankas were written in response to that project.