Seven Tanka

1 August 2015

A dog pants
in the noonday heat;
under her gaze
ants are tracing
invisible pathways.


I would throw Rilke’s
bowl of roses
out the window
and let the room become
as cold as ice.


The Nametaking River
took his name away.
Now he forgets himself
and the shallow waters
are full of sunken logs.


Coat hangers migrate
from wardrobe to wardrobe.
Always the same pigeon
ruffling its feathers
on the window ledge.


Over the years
our lives touched
like two drifting boats.
Now for you there is just
the infinite sea.


On my bedside table:
a snuffed candle, a bath plug,
a rusted bread knife—
objects to keep the angels away
so I can get a good night’s sleep.


An old mirror rests
on the ocean floor.
Small red fish
filled with delight
see themselves as flames.

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