Missing Poems


this is but a moonless night,

and my pillow has no tear stains—

it is in the grocery aisle

amid the frozen vegetables

that I long for you



my pen poised

above the notepaper—

no words come

for my friend

moving away



where the rain-deepened creek

rushes into Buntzen Lake

I think to myself, here

I would have to raise my voice

were I with someone



I miss you in this evening rain

and knowing that I have no idea

if you miss me too

makes me miss you

even more



morning mist—

I slow down

on the sidewalk

to stay behind the woman

wearing my wife’s perfume



I’d abandon all my peaches

to exceed my joy

from a thousand nightly dreams—

just one nod from you

passing in the market


     (after Ono no Komachi)



the rose you gave me

has dropped all its petals

to the windowsill—

overnight, I did not hear the rain

as each petal fell



on the day

my old girlfriend

moves away,

I change my calendar

to a picture of spring



trimming my nails

on a summer afternoon,

I think of you—

yesterday you told me

you just cut your hair



reading her letter again

on my afternoon walk . . .

a leaf falls

never to return

to its branch



I am at your door, knocking—

as I turn away

in a gathering rain

I wonder if you stand at my door,

knocking, knocking



so lonely

again this night . . .

the moonlight

spills over the levee

toward your street



you speak of the distance

between us now

yet still I remember

the smallness of your breasts,

how they delighted me



you would not sleep on the pillow

I shared with a previous lover—

would you come now,

now that I have

a hundred new pillows



compared to broad night

the darkness of your love withheld

is a deeper darkness, still

I long for you

for the cold frost of dawn



like a songbird released

from the bounds of a cage

I dance in the light

released from old love

and yet . . . and yet . . .



for now the roses bloom,

but tomorrow

when their fragrance has gone,

will you still remember me

and my poem?



I am awake tonight

not because of a bright moon

or lovesickness,

but mere insomnia—and you,

you would not care the reason



this cold lonely night

without you, with no chance

of seeing you again,

how I wish

I could turn off the moon