Global Haiku • Spring 2015
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Francesca Rios

Francesca Marie Rios was born in Orlando, Florida on December 24, 1994. When she was eleven her family moved to Paris, Illinois, where she currently resides. Her interest in haiku began in her early twenties while she was an undergraduate at Millikin University studying Pre-Medicine. Currently, she is a Millikin Women's Basketball Player, a James Millikin S scholar, a Leighty Tabor scholar, and a member of Tri-Beta Honors Society.

I would like to thank Dr. Randy Brooks for introducing me to haiku, and for guiding me through this writing experience. I would also like to thank the 2015 Haiku Class for their feedback throughout the writing process.

kasen renga:

Silent Streets



Afternoon Rain

Francesca Rios

Author's Note:

I wrote this collection over the duration of my second year in college. Roberta Beary's, The Unworn Neckalce, was the first book in which I felt I understood the art of haiku. Her unique blend of haiku and senryu is a technique I quickly fell in love with and it's one I try and use throughout my writing.

I decided on the title Afternoon Rain because after looking over my haiku I realized how much my life experiences influenced my haiku. I realized fairly young what it was like to live in a broken home, to be in an abusive relationship, and to see God take away the people you love most too soon. Life is anything but black and white. In fact, most of these moments often seem more black than white, but it's those black moments that define us. The struggle, anger, depression, sorrow, and fear we experience in which we can become the person we are today.

It's easy to write about happiness; it's often times the norm, but I want my poetry to be anything but normal. I want my readers to be able to identify with and more importantly to understand the places my haiku can take them. To ultimately be able to understand that in the darkest of times, life will go on and you will be okay.

That is why I titled this collection Afternoon Rain because often times, in life, a storm will hit out of nowhere. The storm can just pass you by and leave only a few puddles in its wake, or the storm can last for hours and leave a flood. And it's in that place where you'll either drown or learn to swim.

dirt stained skin
a croak escapes from
the heartbeat in my hands

fight between sisters—
her favorite shirt
in my closet

5 girls
2 mirrors
1 hour

crisp autumn air
the smell of burning wood
sticks to my skin

your seat in the bleachers
still empty

suitcase in the foyer
I overhear
their talk of divorce

the tea kettle whistles
on the table
our divorce papers

broken glass
mom sits us down
. . . dad's moving out

forced to cover
the bruises on my body
his love for me

blood smeared lip
I should have hid
his bottle of scotch

smoky blues bar
empty whiskey bottle
your excuse

lipstick stain
you tell me
she means nothing

boy friend
the small space
that is the friend zone

she hides her blemish
and her baby bump—
graduation day

Christmas morning
the snowman wears
my dead brother's gloves

assisted living
my mother asks me
when her daughter will visit

national hero—
an empty casket
below the new gravestone

the fire crackles
at the front door
two soldiers

she tucks away
her baby's blanket—

in the mourning
I still pour
two cups of coffee

long country road
his smell lingers
on the seat

morning chill
you used to make
the coffee

crowded park
searching for your face
in the clouds

wedding day
I throw the bouquet
on my father's grave

morning fog
precipitation on the
closed casket

falling snow
my breath catches
on your headstone

closed casket
in the mahogany
her reflection

afternoon rain
alone in the kitchen
I notice a grey hair

© 2015, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.