Tanka Writing Roundtable • Fall 2017
Dr. Randy Brooks

Previous Home Next

Kathryn Coffey

Beneath the Owl's Eyes
A Tanka Collection

Kathryn Coffey

Going in, I had no idea what to expect. In doing so, I knew I had to find my balance between musing and creating a scene. It became my focus for the class. And then I wrote a couple of tanka about my Nana. Nana became my special inspiration for many of my tanka. It seemed natural to include her my writing. She died a few years ago, but talking through tanka seemed to make the grief easier to handle. She always knew how to light up a room; even when the lights were dim. She was the kind of person who was willing to give her time to help those in need. And she always liked exploring. I'm not sure what she'd say if she were to see me now. Even so, I think she wouldn't mind. Heck, she might even be proud of me. So I dedicate this collection to her, knowing she would love to see a sneak preview of what I've been up to.

Pictures of horses
Misfits and Timberlake
take their place
but not for long

Plaid flannel
Pine needle scent
no matter where
we are
we’re still home

stuck in my head
what’s that song?
and how do I kill it?

First Tuesday
of every month
tornado sirens
To their hearts’ content

Sauna night
jump in the lake
staring up at the sky
Full of stars
In silence

Eyes shut
paws reaching out
what’s he thinking?
Probably more
than me

Ugh, now?!
You just got here
can you please
just see me?

made my face
from poor-man’s Mother
to Minstrel Show
in seven years

the owl’s eyes
are my Nana’s
and mine
a shared love

Chicken and dumplings
simmering, sweet
beautiful crockpot
ah, Nana,
it’s been too long

goes on forever
no end
Come on!
Die already!

that story again, Dad
You know,
the one about
Nana’s coffee lasagna

Just because
you move faster
than grandma
that doesn’t make you
the Roadrunner

Don’t covet.
He’s leaving
with her
I leave

Another distinctive
Feature of his
a limp
he got
when he dumped me

That old home
on Mozart
not my Nana’s
or mine

My brother
the last of us
to receive
the family heirloom
old eyes

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