Tom Painting

Tom Painting teaches junior high at the Paideia School in Atlanta, Georgia. Since 2000, his students have had winning haiku in the Nicholas Virgilio Memorial Haiku Contest. Tom’s own haiku have appeared annually since 1998 in The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, published by Red Moon Press. He has received recognition in the Haiku Society of America’s Brady and Henderson contests for haiku and senryu, and in its haibun contest. His work has also appeared in Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years and Baseball Haiku: The Best Haiku Ever Written About the Game, each published by W. W. Norton. Tom is an avid birder and enjoys hiking in out-of-the-way places. The following is a selection of Tom’s haiku.

in wildflowers . . .
the logging road

                                                                                his death
                                                                                added to her litany
                                                                                of complaints

family feud
the pallbearers
take sides

                                                                                summit road
                                                                                once more the moon
                                                                                changes windows

the wildlife activist
flashes her teeth

                                                                                into the backcountry
                                                                                a spit of asphalt

family plot
the gravedigger
severs a root

                                                                                spring plowing
                                                                                a flock of blackbirds
                                                                                turns inside out

nursing home
a stranger turns
my father

                                                                                my tongue
                                                                                explores a worn tooth
                                                                                the snowy hills

the pulse in a hollow
of her neck

                                                                                he finishes
                                                                                his sentence

peace rally
a forgotten scar
starts to itch

                                                                                nursing home
                                                                                my father
                                                                                the way I left him

deep winter
I search the lease
for a loophole

                                                                                midday blues
                                                                                a row of icicles
                                                                                taking shape

big sky
the uncertain legs
of the foal

                                                                                separate stops
                                                                                off the interstate
                                                                                my parents’ graves

after hours
the grief counselor
loosens his tie

                                                                                first crocus
                                                                                I make a promise
                                                                                I can’t keep

my father slips out
of the conversation

                                                                                fall planting
                                                                                the way my father
                                                                                set them straight

year’s end
the weight of pennies
in the mason jar

                                                                                peace vigil
                                                                                one candle
                                                                                lights them all

year’s end
I give the graveyard
a passing glance

                                                                                I forget the rest
                                                                                of the story

muscle memory
the weight
of a casket