A kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Elizabeth St Jacques


Written 14 January 1992 to 27 July 1993 by postal exchange. First published in Lynx XI:1, February 1996, pages 36–37.



old folks’ home—

a dried spider

falls from the stucco                                                               Michael


            a rubber ball bounces

            deep into his dream                                                   Elizabeth


country road—

the shape of the dandelion

before I blow                                                                             Michael


            slowly through tall grass

            a slithering of darker green                                     Elizabeth



the look of surprise

when he steps on the rake                                                  Michael


            a sheepish grin

            for the extra birthday candle                                  Elizabeth


            ~   ~   ~


murmuring a wish

with the falling star

. . . the bag lady                                                                        Elizabeth


            home late, he hesitates

            at the creaky stair                                                        Michael


last night’s horror

wakes me with a scream . . .

little Dracula                                                                               Elizabeth


            tossing and turning

            the darker brown of new soil                                 Michael


moist and warm

in my palm

my newborn’s pale caul                                                        Elizabeth


            sparrows fly off . . .

            hailstones bobbing in the birdbath                       Michael


the Frisbee’s circle

still so dry

after early snow                                                                       Elizabeth


            sign on the bait-and tackle shop door:

            gone ice fishing                                                             Michael


lost in the storm . . .

the lack of warmth

in his embrace                                                                           Elizabeth


            after lovemaking

            she corrects his grammar                                         Michael


in crimson letters

the newspaper headline:

ETHNIC CLEANSING                                                                Elizabeth


            first day of school—

            the mulatto first-grader                                            Michael


            ~   ~   ~


open window—

the breeze billows in

with a yellow leaf                                                                     Michael


            sprigs of mint

            surround the turkey’s breast                                  Elizabeth


tourists in sun hats—

the jellyfish

under the pier                                                                           Michael


            sunset . . . the beggar

            counting silver coins                                                   Elizabeth


gathering clouds—

a lost child

joins the parade                                                                       Michael


            marching on Remembrance Day

            for her three dead sons                                            Elizabeth


the wardrobe open

on Christmas Eve—

the shine still on his boots                                                    Michael


            discarded tree . . .

            the bluejay finds some tinsel                                  Elizabeth


a sudden flash

in still water—

a salmon’s silver tail                                                                Michael


            coming up for air

            the pink balloon                                                           Elizabeth


summer breeze—

the puddle-frog leaps

from the preschooler’s hand                                              Michael


            smack in the center of the bull’s-eye

            his spitball                                                                       Elizabeth


            ~   ~   ~


able yet

to pop a grape into his mouth

. . . the old man smiles                                                           Elizabeth


            above the rapids,

            the paper boat                                                              Michael


the light bounce

of the willow limb

. . . evening squirrel                                                                Elizabeth


            a downy feather drifts

            into the dog dish                                                          Michael


something small

in the evening pond . . .

the tremble of the moon                                                     Elizabeth


            floating away

            the fallen cocoon                                                         Michael