Fictional Love Haibun

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Spring 2016


I put up my hair
so he sees the nape of my neck . . .
new green leaves

Masaj, LH 32

I think he recognizes the invitation, I see a small smile cross his lips, yet we continue walking along the path, and he makes no mention of it. The trees on either side of us are dropping blooms and petals, and small green buds are starting to take the vacant places. We see colorful birds and small flowers, and pass a green pond teeming with frogs and turtles. Bright orange koi fish lazily bubble up, hoping for tidbits as we meander along; we give them none. Eventually we head off the path, as we do each time, towards a clearing we can see from through the trees. Once there, I sit in silence in the warm grass, and the sun washes over my bare neck and shoulders. I'm staring at the clouds. Like plump cotton they too wander aimlessly in a calm sky, brushing against each other and then respectfully moving along. I notice his stare, on me, and blush but look away. We have been meeting like this for some time now; I remember seeing the trees bare, with buds, then full blossoms, and I notice their current shift to comfortable greens. I remember the still pond slowly turning to the bed of life it is now, and the slow metamorphosis of the creatures and plants within in. He bends next to me, and our knees touch, this is still the closest we have been to each other. I had thought surely in the spring, when all of nature was full of desire, he would pop this silence filled bubble we both slipped into so naturally. Since then, everything around us has moved on, no longer waiting in anticipation for the moment when things worked out, nature has now ceased to care about the once tender, but now reluctant, lovers. At this moment in my mind's wandering, he gets up, mumbles an excuse about getting back to work, and walks away. He has stopped pausing before he goes, and I can't help wonder that, like the other living things around us, he has finally given up. I lay down in the grass; tomorrow, I take a lesson from the clouds, and wander into a different clearing.

orange koi
a single speck of
white bread

Taryn Pepping

This story is exactly what I thought of when I read the haiku. It captures the desire and lust, but the secrecy at the same time. The man and woman are attracted to each other and the little things they do, but it is never a big gesture just little things like putting her hair up. Very interesting story that evokes the emotions I was already getting from the haiku. Alexis

I put my hair up
so he sees the nape of my neck . . .
new green leaves

Masajo, LH, 32

We're walking down the street to our favorite restaurant, hand-in-hand. He has on kakis and a light blue button up shirt. I'm wearing my favorite white dress and a cute pair of heels. It's finally warm enough to wear a dress and be comfortable. All of the trees have new leaves and the night feels magically. We walk into the restaurant and get a table. We order drinks and an appetizer right off the bat. Our waiter comes back and asks if we will be having the same thing as always. We answer with a simultaneous "Yes" and smile at each other. We have been coming to this restaurant since we start dating, 6 years ago, so the staff knows us pretty well. We eat all of our food and it feels like time has just flown by. We're never at a loss for conversation, that's one of my favorite things about us. The waiter asks if we are going to get dessert, and I reply with, "Not tonight". He hands us the check, we pay, and we're back on our same old sidewalk.

We walk around for a little while, taking in the city lights and everyone around us. Spring is such a magical time in the city. It's warm enough for everyone to be outside and be happy. The hustle and bustle never ends, but it's almost soothing. I can't imagine us living anywhere else. He asks if I want ice cream, and I reply with, "Of course I do." We walk to the ice cream shop around the corner. He gets the same thing every time, but I try something new. We start to walk, talk, and eat and before I know it, we're back at our apartment.

It was such a wonderful night. He puts on some music and we begin to dance. Neither one of us really knows what we're doing, but it still feels right. He tells me he likes my hair up, because I have such beautiful collarbones. He pulls me close and we hug for what seems like ages. He kisses me and things go from there. He kisses my neck and I silently giggle to myself because it almost feels like that was the purpose, to get him to notice, which, of course, he does.

one thing led to another
now we're here
laying in bed

Corrin Littlefield

I loved this story. It reminds me of the simple date nights that are nothing extraordinary, but somehow they still become that way. It is something that the couple has done for years, and they still feel so close. It reminds me of the dates I have had that ended up being some of the most special nights of my life, while in the beginning it was simply dinner and a movie. I also liked the way that they tied in the hair up at the end. It compares with the couples feelings for each other. She is exposed and vulnerable: willingly open and trusting of him. Whitney

field of pampas grass—
I go there to cast away
The anguish of my heart

Suzuki, Love, 59

The furry tips of the pampas greet me like infinite waves of family dogs welcoming me home. Here is the only place I can come to be alone. Watching the wind play through the ocean of grass centers my heart and allows my mind the silence to calm and grow beyond the bars my family and friends seem to have laid out for me. I feel cornered into a life I would never have chosen for myself.

My field is where I have come since I was a small child old enough to know emotional grief and frustration. It lies on the outskirts of my village, seemingly forgotten and allowed to run free; in many ways it reflects my inner being back to myself. Nature understands my trials, even when I don't myself, because everything comes full circle in nature. Those born of the earth return to it, and the grass grows when given the proper food, water, and freedom it needs to thrive and survive. I am much like the pampas, for I too desire to blow in the breeze, and can survive in many different climates. Hardy to the changing seasons of life, we are able to withstand the strongest breezes through our ability to bend and flow with it while holding a rigidity at our base and roots.

I run and flop myself down in amongst my grass stalk friends, and look to the sky for answers. Falling in love with the boy whom the village distrusts and ostracizes hasn't done my ease of journey any favors, but I cannot find it in my heart to turn away. I begin talking to the grass around me, as has been my ritual. Some may find me crazy, talking alone in a strange field far from home, but it makes absolute sense to me and to the grass. When I'm here, I don't judge myself because the grass doesn't. They just listen as I weep, understanding my catharsis and whispering kindnesses through their one omniscient voice. I tell them how he makes me feel, why my parents are ashamed. I gradually slow my breathing, my heart rate, as the secrets pour out and leave my soul cleaner than before. I lie there until darkness begins to creep into the stalk shadows and the sky starts winking at me. Brushing my dress off, I sincerely thank the grass, the sky, and the Great Mother for listening to my woes and supporting me unconditionally. Then, I walk home to face a new day.

the Earth rises up to meet
my back, holding me
in perfect balance

Genevieve Breitbach

I liked this "story" because the author connected his writing to nature very closely. Many of Suzuki's poems connected her feelings with nature, specifically the seasons, so it me it was very natural to see this person continue the haiku's story with the comparison of nature and anguish. Another thing I liked about this response was the closeness of the two haiku, the one written by Suzuki, and the one written by the student. The closeness that both of them have is in the pre-made pause. In Suzuki's, she makes the third line start with a capital letter, creating an obvious pause and beginning of a new thought. In the one written by the student, there is a comma, signifying a break in the second line and again creating a new thought. Lauren

This imagined story is beautifully written. Every word was so carefully chosen and each one adds to the vivid imagery of this response. Even at the end of the first short paragraph, the author creates a physical and emotional picture that sets the tone for the rest of the work. With regard to the actual content of the story, one of the things I love about it is that it doesn't tell you everything she is meditating about. When writing an inner monologue, some amateur writers have a tendency to use it as an opportunity to make it into a plot summary, or they explicitly state the feelings of the character in order to catch the reader up more effectively, which can make these thoughts sound more like a recitative in an opera rather than a naturally occurring though process. It makes me appreciate this inner monologue a lot more, mostly because of how natural it sounds. When someone sits down to reflect, especially when they are emotional, they don't say all their thoughts to themselves in a logical order—they pop up out of nowhere, and that's exactly how this story reads. Being able to follow the natural thought process of a person in distress made it easy to get immersed in the story. Natalie

Though I'm not usually one who goes for a love story of any type, I really enjoyed this story. The inner narrative was very easy to follow, superbly written, and relatable. I loved the simile and personification throughout—it gave the story a magical feel and cheesily enough, made me feel young again. I also really enjoyed how closely related the haiku and story were, though they could each stand alone. The vivid descriptions of respect for nature were conveyed through a simple capitalized letter. The personification of the nature around the narrator comes to life in the unifying personification in the haiku. I also appreciate the peacefulness each element conveys, as if further portraying nature itself. Cori

no escaping it—
I must step on fallen leaves
to take this path

Suzuki, LH, 95

There is a woman, conflicted in her feelings for a man. She's walking along an walking path in late autumn. Dead, dried-out leaves around her, the cold bite of the on-coming winter on her fingertips, she walks along, thinking about her situation. She believes that if she leaves him, she could live a happier life. Her life is not bad or sorrowful, but it feels as if it could be so much more. The burning love that was once there has died out, and their relationship is as dry as the leaves scattered on the ground. Now she faces the decision, does she continue in her mediocre love? Or does she let him go and take a potentially better path. The crunch of leaves beneath her shoes, she thinks about the love she once had, and the love she knows he has for her. In order to take her desired path, she must leave him behind.

She comes to an opening out-looking a lake. She still ponders if an average love is better than no love at all. She decides that it is unfair for her to continue being unsure about the relationship, and comes to the conclusion that she must end it. Breaking his heart is something she never wanted to do, but she knows she must to give them both a chance for happiness.

After ending the relationship, she grieves the memories, but knows that better things are to come for the both of them. Months later, she finds herself with another man and pure joy; her previous lover had also found someone. They both are happier than they have ever been before. She returns to the walking path, this time swept free of leaves and the world bursting with color around her again. Whitney

he walks past
holding her
I smile and watch him bloom

Whitney Gray

This haiku is a really cool one to imagine because it can be taken many ways. I see it as a father holding a newborn and he may be having a bit of a tough time with the baby while mom is gone, but he is enjoying the time with his baby girl. It lets him grow as a man and seeing these types of things in life really make life worth living sometimes. I really appreciate younger parents because they put in all of their youth into this child and they raise it to be the best it can be. It's just really awesome to see. Joe

autumn wind—
he pretends not to see me
as he passes

Mosajo, LH, 35

It is the first day of her senior year of high school, and this girl had recently had what she thought was love end nastily. The boy she passes as she was walking down the street to school in the morning was her love over the summer, and she was looking for something more long term, but the boy had only wanted a summer fling with the girl.

So on the last week of summer, he ends the relationship out of nowhere and breaks the girl's heart. She spent the last week of summer crying and staying inside while the boy had spent the last week of summer partying and hanging out with his friends, unaffected by the break up. This only added to the hardship that the girl had gone through. She felt like some sort of trash that could be so easily thrown away by someone that she loved. Sadly enough, the poor girl had spent the majority of the summer with this boy, and grew apart from all of her friends. Now alone, she had to deal with the heartbreak, and it was had been the toughest week of her life. She still has failed to rebuild her past relationships so her walk to school on the first day was lonesome. Dreading seeing this boy at school, she was trying to avoid him at all costs. The boy was doing the same, which resulted in him pretending not to see her as he passed.

As the boy passed, he was with a large group of friends, laughing and excited for the start of his senior year. Seeing him in this way caused the girl to immediately run to a stall in the bathroom to weep. She missed half of her first hour and came in with puffy eyes, destroyed, with the excuse that she had trouble finding the classroom. This girl struggled with the pain of heartbreak and eventually refurbished past friendships, but the hardest part was seeing the boy every day, and having to pretend emotionally stable. However, like all wounds, time healed.

sobs coming
from a bathroom stall
no one there to help

Jacob Hamilton

Yes, this haiku is saddening, but I appreciated the image it presented. I don't think people realize how often crying just helps to release many emotions. Sometimes, people just need to be alone and cry without the company or consoling of others. In fact, sometimes tears can be worsened by people trying to figure out what's wrong. However, in this haiku I get the sense that a high school girl who doesn't feel like she fits in at any lunch table is crying in the bathroom because there really is no one there to be her friend. Viv

I read this haiku before I read the story associated with it. At first reading it, I thought that a person was in the bathroom and heard the sobs, but then the last line makes the haiku seem like it is in the first person. The haiku really fits the story well and is just one of many stories that could be associated with the haiku. The haiku is vague enough for the reader to make a story for themselves. The word sobs also is a good word choice instead of cries because crying implies extreme sadness, but sobs to me means more desperation and hopelessness. Michael

autumn wind—
he pretends not to see me
as he passes

Suzuki, LH, 35

After he avoids my eye contact, the rest of my senses heighten. I feel like I am completely naked while walking through this park. Does everyone else notice me? I hear my feet crunching on leaves all too loudly, and I feel as though everyone else knows. They know that I have been heart broken. They know that he has found someone better; he's with her now. I try to avoid all of the loud leaves so I don't attract more attention. I am starting to cry now and I just want to be left alone. A small child smiles at me, she knows. A bird flies all to close my hand, he knows.

When our marriage was falling apart, I felt as though I would be the only one having to deal with the uncomfortableness of being alone. Now it is clear that everyone can see. I am just a small woman walking through the park on this beautiful day. There's no reason why I should be crying, so they must know. I don't want to go home, I'll just see all of the things he left behind; the couch he paid for, the books he read, the dog he took care of, and me, the one he destroyed. I have to go home; I have to face what has happened. He is gone and I have to move on. I'll just avoid that path through the park.

He was obviously on his way home from work, neatly-tied tie, briefcase in hand. I wonder how his day was? No! I cannot think of him anymore. It is clear that he has stopped thinking of me. He was clearly avoiding me for a reason. Or was he? Maybe he didn't see me, I WAS walking on the other side of the park. But I know him. He doesn't walk like that, he always keeps his head up, not caring what other people see or think of him. He must have been avoiding eye contact to stop himself from missing me. Or maybe he just didn't want to see me cry. I mean, that is what happened as soon as I saw him.

This is all so new, he just left a couple days ago, and that was the first time I saw him since. Maybe he thought I was walking there so I would see him. Is that what I was doing? I mean, that was the first time I left the house since he's been gone. Maybe I got ready, did my makeup, and wore that coat he bought me so that I could run into him and he would come back. That's not what happened. He's not coming back. It's all too real now. Ill have to sign the papers, find a job, and tell my family. My husband is gone. I was not good enough for him, and I have to face that.

the things he left behind
couch, books, dog, me

Lauren Montesano

This fictional story really struck home for me. This woman is heartbroken and left to deal with the pieces her husband has left behind. She finally gets the courage to get on with parts of her life but she can't escape him. It does not matter if she stays home and is surrounded by all of his stuff or out walking in the park. She can't get him out of her head and is heartbroken. She fell into pieces just by seeing him. This story was just very emotional and hit home for me. Erica

This is an interesting haiku because although you know it paints a sad picture by saying that he left things behind, immediately insinuating that he left, you don’t expect the author to include them self. It takes you even more by surprise and makes you feel a different kind of sadness for them. Grace

My betrayed husband—
I wash his tombstone
With meticulous care

Masajo, Love Haiku, 79

Acting depressed, she walks slowly in thought. Wondering what to do next as she passes by the other gravestones. Driving home and not going out Greg is was she decides to do. She wants to meet up with Greg again, but she knows he is married as well. Her marriage was full of lies, deceit, and hate. A loveless marriage that seemed to be entrapping had to come to an end. With divorce not being an option, she was somewhat thankful that it found a way to end itself.

That night, while sitting at home, she hears a knock on the door. Finding it hard to breathe she walks to the door. Thinking it is the authorities, she slowly opens the door. Seeing that it was Greg she breathes a sigh of relief. She had already been in contact with the police about her husband's apparent suicide. Managing to answer all off their questions, she had not seen them for a few days. She invites Greg in for coffee and he spends the night. She realizes that she does not like Greg, but he was just better for her than her husband was. Leaving in a rage, Greg stomps away from the house.

Two days later, the ballistics from the bullet pulled from his head arrive at the station. The fingerprints on the bullet were hers and the amount of gunpowder gathered from his head is inconsistent with him shooting himself. The amount of gunpowder suggests that he was shot from two to four feet away. The cops return to the house to arrest her for his murder. When she does not answer the door, the cops break it down. Upon entering they find the same scene as her husband's. She was in the tub with in the same position as her husband was.

he breaks in
sitting in the dark
waiting for her to arrive

Michael Barber

I love this haiku story because it completely twists the meaning of the haiku. When you read the haiku, you think maybe he was betrayed by death, or a friend, or the mafia, but no, it was HIS WIFE!!!!!! An then she goes on to kill another lover...this woman is nuts. I wonder why she still felt the need to clean the tombstone when she's the reason he's under one. Maybe it's to keep up appearances. Either way, it's definitely creepy. I enjoyed how informative the ‘forensic analysis' was in the last part of the memory. I feel like the author must watch a lot of crime shows or be a criminal justice minor. The haiku at the end kind of threw me off after reading the story. I had to go back and read it again. It makes it seem like a different person killed the wife, and that same person must have killed the husband, since they were found in the same position. If I had to guess, I'd say that Greg and the wife must have been together a while ago, and Greg knew that the wife's husband was holding her back from being with him, so he killed him. When she told him that she didn't really have feelings for him, he killed her the same way and then went home and shot himself!! It's so dramatic - I love it. Marah

I liked the story that inspired this haiku. I liked how vivid it was. It paints a very detailed picture without giving everything away. I enjoy the language used. I really liked the use of the word ‘apparent'. You read from the beginning to that sentence wondering what happened, who killed who, what could've possible happened. But then you realize, that it was murder, and all fingers point to her. I like how it does not explicitly say that she is murdered, it alludes to it but leaves the actual declaration up to the reader. I really liked this because it allowed me to make that realization on my own. I also liked how you go through reading thinking she was the murder and then you find out that she's murdered, so who murdered both of them and why, what could possible drive someone to do something like that. I really enjoyed the mystery of this story. Corrin

my betrayed husband—
I wash his tombstone
with meticulous care

Suzuki, LU, 79

My husband never did anything wrong to me or others. He lived an honest man's life and only did well by his peers. I will always love him for his kindness and generosity. However, the person responsible for his death must pay. It all started a year ago when my husband said he was going to start up a new restaurant. It was not going to be anything big, just a few tables and chairs for people to enjoy his soup. He found a quaint place about two blocks from our small one bedroom apartment so he was able to walk. It wasn't in the best part of the neighborhood, but it would suffice.
However, the restaurant did not kick off the way we both has hoped it would. The bills kept piling on our corner desk and we did not have any way to pay for them. My husband's best friend told him that he would be able to get us some money to pay off the bills for the time being. We even promised to pay interest on this small loan. In order to receive the money, we had to hand the deed over to him with the promise that we would get it back once the money was paid off. This only lasted a week.

My husband was joyous from his friend's generosity and business picked up a little over the next few days. He was convinced this was going to work out for the better. Then the night of July 27th came. On his way home from work, his friend who was accompanied by other strange men approached him. They began pushing him and demanding he pay back all of the money right away. He pleaded for help and forgiveness, but they did not care. My husband tried convincing them that business was picking up and he would have the money by the end of the month but they did not want to listen.

That's when they hit him so hard he cracked his skull on the pavement.

you can have the money
you can have it all
I just want to live

Erica Forbes

I love this haiku. I love it so much. I think we all, myself included, need some friendly reminders that money is not everything. In fact, it is very little in the grand scheme of things. I love the last line, "I just want to live" the most. It gives such a sense of freedom and openness to the poem. Ultimately, I got the message that money doesn't even begin to compare to the relationships, experience's, and wisdom that comes with just simply existing; living. Viv

This haiku was my favorite in the memory haibun because of the story behind it. The man who was struggling and took money to chase his dreams, but had to pay the price of his life. It is a sad story that really makes me wonder if there is hope for the American dream to still flourish. This haiku caught my attention more than any other because of the pleading of the person in it. It is almost painful to read, but the thrill makes it more interesting. Jacob

This story really pulled me in, which is why I ended up choosing it. I liked all of the stories written in first person because, to me, they seemed all the more real and connected. This one painted such a vivid picture in my mind, it felt as though this student were the one who wrote the original haiku. My favorite part of this response was the attention to detail. From the bills piling up in the corner, to the men all approaching her late husband on the street, I felt like she was somewhat reading a eulogy at her husband's funeral. Another thing that I liked were that she added details like "one-bedroom apartment," which signified they were the only ones living together, and they only had each other. By explaining her husband died for nothing else than trying to become successful, you feel all the more bad for both of them. Lauren

This haiku first makes me picture of someone possibly being robbed. They just want the person to take the money and run and be left alone. Also. I relate it to society and the importance placed on living such a lavish lifestyle and being so rich and extravagant. Every reality show now is of some unrealistically rich family doing ridiculous things. Maybe the author wants less of a superficial lifestyle and just wants to live, they don’t need money. Grace

a drink of water
then again to sleep—
a night in spring

Masajo, Love Haiku, 48

It's one of those spring nights, probably late April, where spring is practically over, but it isn't summer quite yet. The trees have buds, but they're still working. There are still some muddy patches of snow left over, but the green grass shooting up around it defies the ugly leftovers of winter. The air is damp - it smells of earth and rain. The sun has set, and a sweet coolness has settled with it. The air is chilly, but windows are open anyway to the light breeze. Gauzy curtains ruffle beside a young girl's headboard. She is tucked under a quilt her mother made her. She wants to sleep, but is struggling. She is going to the zoo tomorrow with her first grade class. That means no school, no homework, and a Subway sandwich for lunch, because field trips are special. As she lays in bed, excitement rippling through her petite frame, she can hear her parents talking softly downstairs over the drone of the television. The light from the kitchen seeps through a crack in the stairwell. The girl decides that maybe if she had a glass of water, she could go back to bed. She dismantles the carefully crafted cocoon that her mother made when she was tucked in. Padding downstairs in an oversized t-shirt, she leans around the corner to peer at her parents talking at the worn kitchen table. She tells them she's just getting some water, and can do it herself. She grabs a chair from beside her father so she can reach the cabinet that is home to the cups. Pushing the chair back in, she goes to the sink for a glass of water. She drinks it quickly, leaving the glass on the counter. She says goodnight for a second time to her parents, and heads back to her bedroom. Crawling back into the covers, still warm from before she left, she rolls onto her side and awaits sleep once more.

egg shell
matching baby blues
peeping through the window

Marah Kittelson

I enjoyed this haibun because it was a story that I'm sure everyone is familiar with. When I was little I can remember countless times where I was in bed but I just needed a quick drink or snack because I was far too excited about something happening the next day. Maybe it was anticipating test results, going on a field trip, or going to the doctor. Sometimes it is hard to sleep when there is something new and exciting awaiting you in a few hours. This story almost paints a perfect image in my head of myself when I was a young boy. Tyler

This haiku and matching story are stunningly articulate and creative in language. The mirror image of a robin's egg, one of my favorite colors has to be that particular blue, matched with the child's eyes peeping through a window is precious and unexpected. A simple story about a child having difficulty sleeping is relatable but new when described with words like "carefully crafted cocoon" and "sweet coolness." It makes me want to be a kid again! Genevieve

I also really liked the story that inspired this haiku. I loved the details of this story. You can clearly picture everything and every step of the story. I enjoyed the explanation of how she got the water. It reminded me of two girls that I used to babysit. The youngest one always wanted to do everything on her own. Because of the details, it reminded me of being a kid. I would always be really restless before a big day too, because those are special days. It also reminded me of being excited for school. Whenever I would have bad dreams, my mom would tell me to think about school and seeing my friends. I would do that and I would fall right back to sleep. I can picture myself being the little girl and it's almost comforting. Corrin

outside the lighthouse's
circle of light:
cats' love

Suzuki, LH, 82

Being the caretaker for a lighthouse is a lonely job. It didn't help that there were always cats reproducing all around the lighthouse. Kent lived in the lighthouse for a few months. Ever since he started to live there, there have been cats. Tons of cats, always. He was always alone, yet he wanted someone in his life. The cats could feel this so, in order to make him feel bad, they continually made love to be sure he could always see, hear, and smell them. I should have mentioned before, that Kent, while he is a relatively nice man, hates cats. Ever since he was a young boy he has loathed them. When he was an infant, he was left with scratches all over when his mother left him with her beloved Siamese. The constant competition for his mother's love with the damn cat left him emotionally traumatized. If only he knew that the lighthouse was plagued with cats, he would have never taken the job. At first the cats just wanted to hangout but he ignored them and yelled at them. After weeks of this, the cats gave in. The made it their lives goal to make him a miserable man. At night Kent would keep a lookout for ships, but he could always hear the cats. It seemed as if they always stayed in the dark, where Kent couldn't spot them. He always wanted to move the spotlight and detect those dirty felines but he knew that could end in a possible shipwreck. Night after night this would happen, it drove him insane. One night he couldn't stand it and he took his spotlight off the sea to search for the monsters. As he turned the light he saw not one but hundreds of cats all watching him. He was terrified he didn't know what to do. He sealed the doors on the lighthouse and prayed that the cats wouldn't find a way in. He woke up the next day, and looked outside to find no cats. In the harbor there was a ship that had crashed onto the rocky shore. Kent knew this was his fault so he rushed to the ship to offer his aid. After boarding the vessel he noticed no people. He started to search the ship and found nothing, although ne noted an odd smell. He went into the underbelly, it was dark and damp. Kent turned on the lights and saw hundreds of cats. They didn't notice him though for the were more interested in the shipment. The boat just so happened to be carrying crate loads of tuna.

glassy eyes
longing for a touch
her cashmere scarf

Tyler Trzcinski

This story made me laugh out loud! I'm sure that it was not what Suzuki meant when she wrote this haiku, but I loved how they turned it into such a funny story! It's nice to have funny haiku or stories like this to take away from the seriousness that often comes with haiku. I love to read haiku that really makes me think about life or at peace or back in the past and my memories, but I like having that occasional comic relief. Whitney

This story fit perfectly into Suzuki's haiku, and was very entertaining. I think it was interesting how the author connected the cats and the lighthouse so seamlessly, but portrayed the cats in a much darker light than the original haiku did. Not only were there just a ridiculous amount of cats, but their kin had also scarred him in the past. The suspenseful buildup was wonderful, and definitely did not see the tuna twist coming. I also enjoy that the haiku after was based on a tangent of the story. Though the story does not focus on it much, Kent is indeed a lonely guy and was deemed second-priority by his mother at a young age. I enjoy the vagueness of the lady and whether it could be his mother or a possible suitor. Cori

April Fool—
I do up my hair and go

Suzuki, Love Haiku, 46

For the third time this month, she texts her friend to tell her she won't be going. She checks the clock. Ten minutes before she was supposed to be picked up. At least it wasn't as bad as last week, when she canceled as her ride was pulling into her driveway. She puts her phone down and her heart rate starts to slow. As she pulls out her bobby pins, she says to herself that a night in is way more fun that seeing all those strangers. Besides, this way she doesn't have to go out into the cold, she doesn't have to walk in heels, and she doesn't have to talk to anyone weird. Who would want to do that? It's safe inside.

She wakes up to twelve notifications. "You said you were going to be there." "You missed everything!" "You would have had fun." Her phone buzzes one more time. "House show at Matt's tonight. You down?" She lit up. She loves house shows. Matt's friends are fun. She knows people there. This time will be different. She says yes.

She eats cereal on her couch. What if you can't find your friends? She knows his house, she wouldn't get lost in there.

She whispers with a friend during lecture. You might fall. No she wouldn't. Wear flats, remember seven steps plus the tiny step to the basement. She would be fine.

She scrolls through Yik Yak during lunch. Matt doesn't want you there. Don't be dumb, yes he does. He's nice.

You don't know that. He just feels bad for you.

She unlocks her apartment door. The flats you want to wear are ugly. Miranda's going to laugh at you. No they aren't. She would never laugh at you. She'll laugh at you when you fall. No one is going to fall. All the strangers will hate you since Matt doesn't want you there. Yes he does.

She starts to put bobby pins in her hair. You're going to drink too much and throw up. She wouldn't, she had never done that before. But you will.

Someone new is going to talk to you and you won't have anything to say. That's not true, she could talk about the bands. He'll think you're weird. He'll tell his friends you're the weird girl and they'll laugh at you. That wouldn't happen.

Yes it will. No one knows you're weird but they'll all find out.

Stay with her friends. None of this will happen if she stays with friends. No you're going to lose them. You're going to get lost and fall and Matt will yell at you.

She stared into the mirror. Started pulling out bobby pins. Texted her friend she wasn't going. She put down her phone. Ordering a pizza and staying in would be way more fun. Besides, this way she wouldn't have to talk to anyone new, and she wouldn't have to think about falling in front of anyone. She turns her phone off before it starts to buzz.

outside the window
muffled laughter
she closes the blinds

Natalie Smith

This story was my favorite out of the bunch. I am the type of person who hates going out and seeing people. Half the time I complain and just tell my friends I won't go anywhere. This dialogue is what goes through my head every weekend. It also shows how there can almost be two people talking in a person's brain. As the sociologist George Mead would say, this shows a clear distinction between the I and Me. The I in this story shows how she is a fun loving girl who likes to spend time with her friends but the Me part of her is too worried about what others think of her to go out and actually do anything. The Me is taking over the I, when really it should be the other way around. She is too afraid of what others think to be herself and do what she actually wants to do. Erica

I liked this story because I didn't really get this picture when I read the haiku at first. I pictured a woman who wants to have a date with a guy, but always gets stood up or just doesn't get asked. The idea that the reason she isn't going out is because of herself is a very interesting point of view and makes it seem more like she is calling herself a fool. Alexis

This story really got to the center of what social anxiety looks like. Even for people that don't struggle with being clinically anxious, I feel like we can relate to some aspect of being nervous before going to a party, or making a big decision. I love how they use the paragraph separations and sentence fragments to chop up the thought process, because that is exactly how it feels when you're struggling against yourself - choppy and uneven. I think the story does a really good job of adding a scenario to the haiku. I can hear the girl talking to herself, calling herself a fool, and getting really excited before deciding to stay home. It's just a really good fit. Then, the haiku that follows does a really good job of showing how she feels about not going: she told herself that staying in would be better, yet she can't stand hearing/seeing other people having fun, so she closes the blinds. Overall, it was a very powerful story that really created something out of what I thought to be a plain haiku. Marah

The haibun that went with this haiku was very interesting. I enjoyed the internal conflict presented, and how it was worded throughout the story. Sometimes staying in is the right thing to do, and by sometimes I mean always. Going out can be scary and unfamiliar, but staying in is comforting and safe. While it is fun to meet new people and hangout with friends, it is also fun to stay in and watch a movie or four. I found this haibun to be serious yet slightly playful and I have definitely been in the character's "flats" before. Tyler

I love the extended idea in this Haibun; it's super powerful and really illustrates an anxious thought process. I like how it's written in a kind of stream of consciousness type of idea, and that the idea of time passing occurs without the author saying "it's seven o'clock now." The formatting is also really cool, the separation of the good and bad thoughts, and the slow morphing of the good into bad is really illustrated by the look of the page itself. Taryn

when the wind blows
they share their sorrow—
trees covered with snow

Suzuki, LH, 63

Though it is unbearably freezing outside, the two wander aimlessly down the park paths, both so enveloped in each other's sorrows that they misconceive the sting of the harsh wind as the prick of sadness. However, neither is particularly sad, but rather reflecting on probable causes to be so. What started as a side comment turned into a lengthy discussion about life's woes and unfairnesses. The pure white world seems to stop around them—all creatures obscured from view and no signs of disturbance in the fresh snow. As the snow falls around them, the world is hushed, but they seem to take no notice. Each gust of wind reveals the tree frames, just as each utterance reveals deeper secrets about them. After what seems like mere minutes, they half-heartedly laugh that they circled the lagoon three times and begin to separate to go on with their lives. Strangers that will never meet again, the two felt as though they had been buried alive in thick, wet snow. As they begin to thaw in their separate homes, they realize that they have helped uncover the most important parts of each other. I have found myself again—thank you, frostbitten stranger.

thick wet snow
certain parts of me
buried alive

Cori Grzenia

I really liked this haiku, and like the other haibun, I read the haiku before the story associated with it. Upon first reading the haiku, I thought about an avalanche and a person not completely buried, but partially stuck and unable to move. However, after reading the story, the haiku has a much deeper meaning to me. I now view the "parts of me" as secrets or facts about oneself that are sometimes relieving to get off of your chest. These secrets are left behind with just a stranger which is the same as being buried beneath snow and gone temporarily. That feeling will soon fade away just as the snow, but for now it is relieving. Michael

This haiku hits me right in between the heart and the gut. It speaks of a deep sadness; the kind the suffocates and evolves a person through the digging back up and out of the snowy grave. The adjectives used in the phrase "thick, wet snow" create such a great density and weight. The combination of the inner and outer nature images works very well, and is very relatable to anyone who has gone through a tough time. It also sends a message of hope, as did the lovely story, that perhaps those pieces of oneself will still be there when the snow melts. Hearts thaw in springtime. Genevieve

On the dressing table
The ring removed from my finger—
Cherry blossom rain

Suzuki, Love Haiku, 22

I just keep staring at this window, it continues to rain, and I continue to wish. I'm just wishing I could leave him, wishing I could look down at the ring, wishing the longing would go away. It's hard to be here, knowing that I can't be with my true love. There's no good way to tell my husband, there's no good time, I never wanted to live this kind of life. I have to leave.

the kids
can't just leave
them with him

Alexis Dockins

The story that is told with this haiku really twists the meaning of it. If a person was to read this haiku alone, without the story, I believe it would be interpreted as the husband is a generally bad person for some reason and the wife does not want the kids to stay with them after the divorce. However, the story makes the haiku read differently. The woman actually wants to be with someone else, but does not want to lose the kids. She is made out to be the worse person as she desires to cheat on her husband. The story is also very fitting with the original haiku off of which it was based. The story aligns with the haiku as it creates an image of a woman wanting out of a marriage and carefully contemplating the possible decisions she has ahead of her. Michael

This Haibun is really short, but what I really love is the haiku developed from it. I like how the last line can stand by itself, but it's also with the second line. It's saying that she can't leave her kids, but most importantly she can't leave them with her husband. This might be saying that she could leave her kids so long as they weren't with her husband. I like the double meaning in this. Taryn

© 2016, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.