Animal Rights Haiku

I was just asked if my haiku, below, could be anthologized in an animal rights anthology. Of course I was touched, not having thought of it that way.

the nun scatters
her cut hair
for the nesting birds

The haiku was inspired by my friend Miriam Bobkoff who was a Buddhist monk (her lineage not distinguishing nuns). She cut her hair in preparation for the head shaving of her ordination ceremony.
She was a true bird lover. She hung seed feeders and hummingbird ones. She loved Bosque del Apache in southern New Mexico where migrating cranes winter. I once saw her run beneath a flock of flying cranes, calling “take me with you.”
Rich and I were at the Bosque over New Year’s, and I was reminiscing how Mir B. called the snow geese and sandhill cranes “people,” which we still do.
I’ve been thinking of her her for no apparent reason of late. She’s been dead for over a year, and while certain things (grilled tofu, oysters, the San Luis Valley) often call her to mind, she has just been in my thoughts more than usual.

She left me her embroidered portrait of an oyster catcher. She’d never bought a piece of textile art before, but she loved oyster catchers. In fact, she saw the piece, by Kristen Chursinoff, years ago here on this very blog.


I wasn’t happy to get it, because my possession meant she was dead. It’s really quite special, though. (

Anniversary of My Father’s Death

The week of my father’s yarzeit, anniversary of his death.

The passage of time has not revealed who he was to me.

I can list 5 things he liked:

cream filled doughnuts
the Hudson River
being right
Ancient Greece

and 5 things he didn’t:

carpenter bees
Valentine’s Day
crossing a border

In the last years of his life, he was diminished by age, dementia, a stroke, aphasia.

I can’t discount those years and just remember him young.

I wanted his approval—and both got it and didn’t—until the need itself wore out.

He was the only father I’ll ever have. Basically, that is the truth of the situation that remains.

The haiku poet Issa wrote:

Mountains seen also
by my father, like this,
In his winter confinement. (Translation by R.H. Blythe)

The haiku seems to be saying we can’t actually know another person, but maybe just experience together.

mist hangs over
snow mountains my father
never saw

walking stick in snow
how vigorous my father
was at my age

old man
stroked, afraid
of the spring breeze

juncos in snow
he liked them too—
my father

Seeing Color

At the art museum in Las Cruces last weekend, I saw an exhibit of Paul Outerbridge’s photography. He was an early color photographer.


I walked in off the esplanade, which was bustling with lots of crafts, a few farmers selling greens, heaps of pecans, and a jazz band and felt the influence of Outerbridge’s color the rest of the day.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, is also all about color.




dark red mug
yellow wall
purple door
red roof
red chairs
blue bench
pink door
faded prayer flags
purple windows
green chairs
Chinese guard lions
tin roof
Shinto lantern
green pots
pale metal chair
green cactus
empty laundry line
pink wall
turquoise window frame
palm tree wrapped in blanket
silver sneakers (mine)
red green blue orange Xmas lights
silver door
gold Buddha
colorless sky