Three Haiku

Pelicans traverse

the gray expanse, like covered

wagons moving west.

The moon fell into

the brook behind our cabin

where its pieces shine.

You can be the wind

today. I'll be the brook—that 

small one most walk by.

Hymn

Last night as I walked through the gate after work and then my walk,

I saw the goats lying on the mini-trampoline, as is their new habit at night.

This time, as I neared them, neither got up. I approached quietly and crouched down.

I watched them, the peace they lived in.

Slowly I reached out and petted Pepper more gently than usual—soft strokes

down the length of her side, feeling

the bulge of her warm belly through her dusty fur.

Before this, they have always arisen and milled around me when I come home at night,

but now Pepper remained lying, forefeet tucked, head up, eyes gazing at something

only goats can see. I could hear her breathing,

as though she were inhaling and exhaling extra-long,

as one does sometimes in meditation.

Then she turned to me, with that breath of fermenting grass, and chewed her cud,

her jaw moving languidly side to side, as though this were another

part of her meditation. I leaned in and she offered

the flat bone of her forehead for my kiss.

Cookie lay in the opposite direction, along Pepper’s other side,

as though the ripples of communion reached her through her sister’s body,

as though my petting were being multiplied like loaves and fishes.

I thought, This is what I like—tendering the tenderest affection

and feeling it being received.

The night standing still around us.

The Authentic Voice

 

I wrote, “Great to hear from you,”

but it wasn’t, so I deleted that.

Then I wondered whether it was wonderful.

No. That would also be a stretch.

There were no sparkling lights,

no soaring feeling in the chest.

This person deserved the truth.

Perhaps it was cool.

“Cool to hear from you.”

What does that even mean?

One thing I knew for sure:

It wasn’t awesome.

They were not God or the Grand Canyon.

It was good to get that one off the table.

I briefly considered “swell,”

thinking it might be endearingly quirky,

or ironic, or one of those non-straightforward things.

But “swell” would require either an explanation,

or yet further, more overt quirkiness

to make sure they didn’t just think I was weird.

Finally, I settled on “good.”

Surely it was plain old good to hear from them.

But by then, it no longer was. 

rain gathers, softens

rain gathers, softens

and spills, while

truck drivers sing

in their lonely cabs

 

and you,

bending down now

to gather it all

in a mason jar

 

what if we treated

everything

as extra—

as if our souls

had come to earth

the way

you and I

would go to a fair.

© 2018 by Chris Dingman