Tanka Writing Roundtable • Fall 2017
Dr. Randy Brooks

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Hannah Ottenfield

hero. a tanka collection

Hannah R. Ottenfield

"hero." is a collection of poems written by hannah r. ottenfield for the tanka roundtable at millikin university, taught by dr. randy brooks. "hero." contains tanka and sequences. the poems deal with themes of love, lust, loss, and feelings otherwise unexplainable. the author hopes the reader can find solace and comfort in these poems. the power of words are immeasurable.

looking at old pictures
i don't recognize
that pretty girl
such a sad look
in her eyes

i always wish
that i knew you
better than i do,
i drive down your block
just in case

of all the stars
i can see from
my Chicago rooftop,
        you remain
        the brightest.


the grey figure
padding across linoleum
i was always his favorite
forgotten memories

swan feather tears
gliding down my cheeks
smoother than a river's pull
"i'm so impressed
your eyeliner is still perfect."


if only
we could step
into love
hurts too much

i am stone
solid & eternal
        but i feel myself
        away . . .


the last day of peace - a tanka sequence

eyes off the road
glued to the rear view
just to catch a glimpse
of that red and chrome
"i'm sorry i didn't pick you up."

don't tell me
        you're sorry
when you drove past my house
and never said
        a thing.

how can
other person
complete me when
i am already


what a wicked
little town
the graves stare
through my closed window
as i sleep soundly

the ink
     in my skin
          keeps me
               from caring
                    about you.


distance makes
the heart grow fonder
maybe 143 miles
will do
the trick.

elm leaves swirl
across blinking street lights
and i can't decide
if i wish i'd never met you
or met you sooner.


a quick glance
a gentle smirk
and a shrug
is all i need
to understand my father

i don't take sugar
in my coffee
the conversation
of my friends
is sweet enough


Gemini twins
just the same
can't stand each other
but can't live
without each other

my dad's
brown leather chair
welcomes me home
with open arms
i sink into home


pressed the wrong button
on the dryer today.
ate alone
at lunch today.
modern day Greek tragedy.

© 2017, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.