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Back to the Modern American Haiku Poets

Nick Virgilio's Haiku


out of the water...
out of itself

heat before the storm:
a fly disturbs the quiet
of the empty store

my spring love affair:
the old upright Remington
wears a new ribbon

town barberpole
stops turning:
autumn nightfall

autumn twilight:
the wreath on the door
lifts in the wind

Thanksgiving alone:
ordering eggs and toast
in an undertone

flag-covered coffin:
the shadow of the bugler
slips into the grave

my dead brother...
hearing his laugh
in my laughter

over spatterdocks,
turning at corners of air:

picking bugs
off the moon

approaching autumn:
the warehouse watchdog's bark
weakens in the wind

the first snowfall:
down the cellar staircase
my father calls

New Year's Eve:
pay phone receiver

the blind musician
extending an old tin cup
collects a snowflake

Easter morning…
the sermon is taking the shape
of her neighbor's hat

lone red-winged blackbird
riding a reed in high tide—
billowing clouds

the junkyard dog
in the shadow of the shack:
the heat

taking a hard look
at myself from all angles—
the men's store mirrors

the bullet-proof vest:
the heat

the cathedral bell
is shaking a few snowflakes
from the morning air

barking its breath
into the rat-hole:
bitter cold

a crow in the snowy pine…
inching up a branch,
letting the evening sun through

winter evening
leaving father's footprints:
I sink into deep snow

the sack of kittens
sinking in the icy creek,
increases the cold

deep in rank grass,
through a bullet-riddled helmet:
an unknown flower
—In memory of Lawrence J. Virgilio

the autumn wind
has torn the telegram and more
from mother's hand

my gold star mother
and father hold each other
and the folded flag

Viet Nam monument
darkened by the autumn rain:
my dead brother's name

another autumn
still silent in his closet:
father's violin

on the darkened wall
of my brother's bedroom:
the dates and how tall

the hinge of the year:
holding up candles in church
lighting up our breaths

my palsied mother,
pressing my forehead on hers
this Ash Wednesday

my dead brother…
wearing his gloves and boots:
I step into deep snow

sixteenth autumn since:
barely visible grease marks
where he parked his car

after father's wake
the long walk in the moonlight
to the darkened house

into the blinding sun…
the funeral procession's
glaring headlights

at the open grave
mingling with the priest's prayer:
honking of wild geese

adding father's name
to the family tombstone
with room for my own

on my last journey
alone on the road at dawn:
first sight of the sea

the graduation ring
slips from my finger:
the midnight river

the knifegrinder's bell
fades in the afternoon heat:

between tricks knitting booties

shadowing hookers
after dark:
the cross in the park

alone on the road
in the wake of the hearse
dust on my shoes

making up her face,
lighting a candle to Mary
for business' sake


Thanksgivink dinner:
placing the baby's high chair
in the empty space

in the single's bar
magnifying loneliness:
her thick eye glasses

autumn tornado
buckles the billboard:
her torn smile

always returning
to the terminal patient's toe
autumn fly

the first snowfall:
down the cellar staircase
my father calls