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Back to the Modern American Haiku Poets

Lee Gurga's Haiku


morning twilight . . .
horse asleep in the pasture
covered with frost

morning calm . . .
heavy with frost the leaves
continue to fall

winter prairie—
a diesel locomotive
throttles down in the night

frozen branches
measure the emptiness—
winter sunset

firelight on the face
of the sleeping boy

Christmas blizzard—
everything white
except his cheeks

fresh scent—
the labrador's muzzle
deeper into snow

his side of it.
her side of it.
winter silence

Christmas pageant—
the one who had to get married
plays virgin Mary

another Christmas . . .
my parents visit
the son in prison

horse slobber
frozen to my coveralls—
New Year's Eve

while you sleep
the gentle rocking
of the night train

head down to the grass,
the young colt's flaxen tail
swatting . . . swatting . . .

class reunion—
with my old girlfriend
her girlfriend

wedding picture:
each face finds
a different camera

20th anniversary—
doing sit—ups together
in perfect time

on the second day
I buy a deck of cards—
spring rain

fishermen's cars
parked along the roadside—
cold rain at sunset

spring horse auction—
a cluster of Amishmen whispering
through their beards

Sunday afternoon—
asking his father the name
of every flower

a spot of sunlight—
on a blade of grass the dragonfly
changes its grip

dry riverbed—
great blue heron in a puddle
staring back at me

against the rumbling
of the thunderhead:
his toy gun

rotted stump—
brown pint bottle
still hidden inside

restored prairie . . .
where the grasses end
the prison's outer fence

rows of corn
stretch to the horizon—
sun on the thunderhead

fluttering madly—
butterfly in the slipstream
of a passing freight

closing-out auction—
the farmer clenches the muscles
in his cheek

the end
of moving day;
dogs barking

long walk alone—
a tattered goldenrod
covered with dust

rural interstate—
all the other cars
exit together

abandoned still—
broken mason jars
sparkle in the moss

wild geese—
writing a wordless message
on the autumn sky

trying the old pump a mouse pours out

the dog runs ahead—
old roadbed through the forest
deep with leaves

the end of my lane—
I open the sagging gate
to autumn sunset

silent prayer—
the quiet humming
of the ceiling fan

graduation day—
my son & I side by side
knotting our ties

figure drawing class ——
in the model's deepest shadows
a stark white string

fall leaves the trees the winter sky

farm dog calling
calling to its echo
deep in the forest

bales of hay
dot the bluestem meadow—
morning breeze

a bike in the grass
one wheel slowly turning—
summer afternoon

pine shade—
the wooden bench
worn smooth

mountain cherry—
from branch to branch
the photographer

two little boys
paddling like mad—
the beached canoe

professional conference—
in the restroom all the dentists
washing their hands

candlelight dinner—
his finger slowly circles
the rim of his glass

scenic overlook
the whole Mississippi valley
hidden in mist

exploring the cave…
my son's flashlight beam
disappears ahead

summer sunset—
the baby finds his shadow
on the kitchen wall

last bale of hay—
we sit down on it
and watch the moon


the smell of the iron
as I come down the stairs
winter evening

from house
to barn:
the milky way




frosty morning --
a snail stretches out
into the sun

his room empty now ...
in the distance, points of the light
on the interstate

summer dawn --
the curve of your body
under the sheets

postal chess --
he moves me
from his cell

our tangled bodies
motionless in the bed;
coffee brewing

from the tall weeds
the smell of something dead --
atutmn afternoon

now that you've left,
your side of the bed covered
with open books

I read
she reads
winter evening

street magician—
tourists appear

"There’s the comet…"
the little boy watches
his father’s breath

Television light
Flickers on my children’s faces—
Autumn sunset

summer afternoon
a pair of glasses
resting on an open book

afternoon sun—
squirrel on a slab of snow
sliding down the roof

night sounds…
I put another blanket
on the sleeping boy

the ticking of sleet
on the bedroom window;
your hand

opossum bones
wedged in an upper fork
budding leaves

summer morning—
a withered bluebell
loggers left behind

my dream
awakens me…
I wake you

summer sunrise…
through morning haze
a bobwhite calls again

winter coming on—
a man hitchiking south
in his wheelchair

white-haired nun—
in German still
her childhood prayers

first snow—
little boy laughing
in his sleep

The sound of rain
moving through the wheatstubble;
a night of love

first feeding—
smelling her milk
the black cat

summer grasses—
a clutch of mottled eggs
slowly stirring

fresh mown hay—
half a prairie kingsnake
in afternoon sun

grandma's funeral—
shaking hands with the cousins
I don't remember

arc of a rubberband
back and forth across the room;
winter evening

parading the stallion—
all eyes on
his dingling member

sultry afternoon—
a tick on the dog's ear
filling with blood

four or five turkeys
roosting in a leafless tree—
winter evening

Christmas morning—
bird dog in the stubblefield
chasing sparrows

frozen ground—
with every step
the thorn

summer afternoon—
the name of some town
spelled out in flowers

Amish waitress—
black dress stretching down
to her Reeboks

sagging bales black
to the meadow's end

cutting posts—
the sizzle of sleet
on the chainsaw housing

as the light fails,
still hammering
from the treehouse

storm windows
stacked against the house—
spring sunset

lawn furniture
without any cushions—
cherries leafing out

a little boy
alone in the ripening wheat—
hazy moon

hidden waterfall—
they come to see
why we're not speaking

chopping out stumps—
the old boundary dispute
with every stroke

still water
reflects the sky…
I begin to forget

pushing in walnuts
with my heel—
autumn rain

blackberry picking—
the first breath of morning
in the cottonwood tops

the sky black with stars—
coyote tracks up and down
the frozen creek

a duck swimming
in the cattle pen—
spring rain

blast of wind
flattens the roadside grass—
hitchhiker on her suitcase

summer harbor—
each boat pointing
to the storm

the liquid movement
of the raccoon's eyes:
filled with maggots

running with the car—
the black tip of the dog's tail
through knee-high corn

legs pawing
in the summer wind—monarch
in the wiper blade

midday sun—
butterflies flutter about
the peeing boy

school bus gone;
the old cedar
in & out of fog

Christmas morning—
we wake up holding
each other's hand

on nipple
against the white cotton—
dark halo of milk

winter sun begins
to warm the steering wheel—
prison visit day

Visitor's Room—
everything bolted down
except my brother

spit on the whetstone—
the little boy tests an edge
on the birthday knife

call after call.
finally, my six yeas-old's
"Lee Gurga!"

tourist motel—
the pattern of the bedspread
on your cheek

hair stubble
on the deodorant stick:
the heat

birthday shopping—
into the dress she loves
her daughter's hips

home from a date—
my roommate's underwear
now inside out

the philosophic drunk
finally runs out of gas…

after my walk:
a perfect spiderweb
stuck to my glasses

everyone asleep
expect the one sleeping alone—
distant train whistles

sweat steaming
from a team of geldings;
endless stars

snow-packed roads—
the wind blows through
a stripped Camaro

cold drizzle—
a puff of diesel smoke
rises from the freight

autumn rain—
old man's furniture
in the pickup

Thanksgiving Day—
the whole family silent
watching a football game

country stop sign—
the pink glow of sunset
through .22 holes

boy shooting baskets—
deep snow piled
all around him

candle flames bend and rise
with the church's breath

dozing off…
one hand on your skin
and on your silk

drakness before dawn—
the way your legs sleep
not closed not open

morning mist…
the soft brown eye
of the suckling calf

bitter morning—
I move the injured puppy
into the sun

fresh-baled hay—
cutting the twine
to let the snake go

moon gazing…
the dog keeps trying
to lead us away

spring rain—
stepping over barbed wire
into the woods

weekend with their dad—
the boys go deeper
into the mountain

two boys the last pile of dirty snow