He’s white. Like snow. A neighbor calls him Casper. Though he moves like a small ghost, slinking through the vineyards, he’s not friendly. Maybe he was once, but life has dealt him a weak hand, and he has to play it where it lays.

Like any good hunter he’s familiar with every tree, and rock, every fox den, and squirrel drey in his travel radius. He has his landmarks. I see him resting by the cairn of flat rocks my niece constructed last summer. She buried a treasure, the feather of a blue jay. The cairn marks the spot. Out of the path of the vineyard tractors I imagine it staying in place until she’s grown. She’ll forget it ever existed. Until one year while she is in the midst of a life-altering decision, I’ll lead her to it. Seeing it again will flood her with memories, all those carefree days of childhood. Miraculously, her decision will be made clear. These things happen.

By then, by the time she has set aside her stuffed animals, and taken on the demands of adulthood, the white feral cat will be long gone from his hunting grounds. But, she will remember him. She’ll remember how we tried to adopt him, how we left him offerings of food, how we spoke soothingly hoping to coax him to come near. But, he was too far gone, his fear of humans too pronounced.

in the wild
the hunter and the hunted
memories of moonlight


Bjorn at dverse asks us to write a haibun, and Hamish Gunn asks the same every week…

Thanks for reading!





My backyard...

My backyard…




Nearly a month until summer,

and already a heat wave.

Ripples of warmth rise from the vineyard

like a mirage one sees in movies.

I imagine ghosts, spirits, spectres.


Twelve years I have lived among these vines.

Three pets lay buried, deep in the dust:

two cats and a much beloved dog.

I watch the wrinkles of air

and imagine the dry bones as a fine powder

rising heavenward, if there is a heaven

though I truly doubt there is.


If there is a heaven it is populated

by animals, and children, playing..

an adult free zone.

Not even a Mother Teresa deserves an

eternal reward, don’t you agree?

More likely we return to right all our wrongs.


Great clouds of dust rise in the hot breeze.

I can smell it. It smells like money.

Thin tendrils of springtime vines rise

heavenward, toward the sun.

They are rewarded for their adoration

with fat red grapes bursting with sugar.


Where once apple orchards thrived

rooting the soil, feeding children, now

Grapes ferment into dark bottles of money.

and the unfettered soil lifts and is borne

many miles into the spectre of a future

governed by the dry bones of sacrifice.





When did we lose our sex drive?
We’re at odds, are you on my side?
Only headlights penetrate the night
while we tarry and parry, our love belied
by the ancient battles we too often wage.
Unlike those who are born again, we are not saved.
Still we sleep on ‘til a truce is made.
In the moonrise I watch your face
in every crease those wounds only I can nurse.
I see time reversed, and we’re at the church
repeating vows for better or worse;
your full lips purse
and then once more you turn your back
repeat the pattern just like that.

For Tony at dverse. We are writing Bout-Rimes (boo-ree-May)… not an easy task, but a great exercise…

Know it Alls


I have my eyes on you
mothers and fathers say
to their much-loved offspring

teenagers plead for mercy
not to disobey the rules

it’s a ruse
they merely pretend to be afraid

teenagers know it all
they have eyes
in the back of their heads

they see through doors
around corners

parents see nothing

teens do not intend to deceive
oh yes they do
let’s not kid ourselves

teens know it all

just ask them

For Peggy at Real Toads.. We’re writing about eyes while staying within a 75 word limit.

One Night is Enough


Slip-slidin’ along the wood floors
he circumnavigates the wonder
that is his wife
clasping her slender fingers
he twirls and he whirls
whistling while waltzing
to a tune she loves
but what is its name?
she doesn’t care
she sashays, she sidles, she sidesteps
in perfect sync to his motility

 on another night
they might shuffle out of line
lose the rhythm, forget the steps
but this night, this one night
this melody
is crystallized by time
to that ancient amber glow

through the years
they wheel and roll like
seabirds above the waves
humming a melody they can’t
put lyrics to
content to sing harmony
together, always together.

For Victoria at dverse – we’re making the most of Verbs…

Expanded Territory

Written for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads Open Link Monday. I’m new here, but have quickly come to realize the talent present in this fertile Garden.

I attempted to come up with something a bit more seasonal and cheery, but the funny stuff has its own schedule. 🙂  I wish everyone a joyous season, and look forward to getting to know everyone in the New Year.


©Matthew Smith

©Matthew Smith

in the dead of night
I wake
to foxes fighting
I hear their teeth
like mine do
when I’m cold
and then the high-pitch
like nails on a
it is not a mild
more a fight with a wounded warrior
tail between the legs loser
and a winner with expanded

you cannot escape your past
though I hadn’t planned to
I will visit
my little sister
I will tell her
my fox story
and we will cling
to each other
for dear life
knowing that our memories
are only that

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem – Tan Renga – Sun’s ‘gathering seashells’

I have to face the facts. I’m incapable of posting everyday for Carpe Diem. Though I wish it were otherwise. Not enough hours in the day. Kudos to everyone who pulls it off, and with such lovely haiku and tan renga completions. If only I had your discipline.

I have 5 sisters so Sun’s haiku spoke to me. Oh the stories I could tell of our happy, but sometimes difficult dynamics. As the American holiday of Thanksgiving approaches, and families gather, and the comedians up their game, I couldn’t help but use it for my completion.

To all those who celebrate.. Happy Thanksgiving!


gathering seashells
while ocean tides rise and fall
two sisters bicker                                             (Sun)

set the Thanksgiving table
watch the fireworks explode                       (Steph)

Thanks for reading!