Pia Taavila-Borsheim

 

HAIKU SEQUENCE: NIGHT WATCH 

Meant for the gnawing,
          the meat and the marrow bone.
Live for the feasting.
                     ~
Little frog, singing
           in the rain, joy attends you
under the stone step.
                     ~
Elgar’s Nimrod soars.
          I’m a clarinetist, twelve,
first chair, lone weeper.
                     ~
Sprinkler heads skitter
          above the newly-laid sod.
We watch from windows.
                     ~
Empty milk bottles
          line the hallway shelf, their glass
gently green, clinking.
                     ~
Tiny, pink, threaded
          cap, heart-shaped perfume bottle—
slight squeak, twisting off.
                     ~
Creeping past my door,
          a young cat yowls at the moon.
Neighbors’ lights come on.
                     ~
A garrett, pine trees–
          slant light through dormer windows–
a pine bed, plain desk.

I bend to the task,
          listen for the heart’s desire,
type night-long lyrics.

The birds of morning call.
          Crumpled sheets fill the basket—
nine lines remain.
                     ~
A driver slices the air.
          The golf ball’s thwock:
its rattle in the cup.
                     ~
Cars, in streetlight, nudge
          dark curbs: wet asphalt, strewn leaves.
Couples hurry by.

Lamps in high windows
          cast shadows through mottled trees.
I walk the dark stretch

of arching branches,
          alone in my need to name
the night air, alone.
                     ~
A baby cries in
          someone’s neighboring house.
We sleepy mothers wake.
                     ~
In the door, his keys
          clank and jangle. The morning
tryst trails from his shirt.
                     ~
In my lover’s eyes,
          the world’s barbarism lurks:
slits for irises.

Time to make a move.
          This snake slithers in tall grass,
shedding skin, revealed.
                     ~
Beaks fly out my mouth.
          Turquoise and teal, the feathers
furl. In flight, they caw.
                     ~
He stood before me,
          humbled, penitent. I raised
his chin to kiss him.
                     ~
Like a girl who lifts
          her skirts and crosses the creek,
we try again, love.
                     ~
His words hung like fruit
          dangling from persimmon trees,
bruised and out of reach.
                     ~
The heart knocks about
          in its empty casing, wants
only to beat on.
                     ~
O, full moon, I stare
          into your pale sphere: haunting,
luminous, distant.

 
 

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