Journal » Trout 12 » Fourteen Tanka [Richard von Sturmer]
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Fourteen Tanka

Richard von Sturmer

dry riverbed
running through
a rainless land,
the rocks are covered
with splashes of lichen

a peppering
of raindrops
on the footpath,
the thunder sets off
a car alarm

early morning rumble
of a freight train,
half-asleep I watch
our toothbrushes
swaying in their rack

beside a flowing stream
the tips of ferns
curled up,
I'm now halfway
between birth and death

four pigs roast
on an improvised spit
their skin so human —
and turning brown

pre-dawn cold
the time of darkness
when the dying die
and frost forms
on the autumn grass

continuous rain,
as a moth is sleeping
on the stem of my razor
I decide
to remain unshaved

New Year's Day,
she confesses
to eating lice
from her children's hair

forty-seven today
my skin glistening
in the shower,
branches scrape against
the bathroom window

not as cold as
the autumn sea,
our bodies in bed together
pillows, sheets and blankets
all in disarray

on the green
volcanic terraces
of a sleeping mountain
cow patties grow warm
in the autumn sunlight

slanting sun
low and cold,
throughout the city
the click and clatter
of skateboards

late-afternoon light
in the cemetery,
no one to erase
the graffiti
from an old headstone

shaking the head
of a rain-soaked hydrangea,
blue sparks
before I can speak
before I can say a word


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© Copyright 2004 Richard Von Sturmer & Trout.