Haijin by Terry Ann Carter

Midsummer. This small Japanese village.
A covered shelter with soji screen
and a woman begins to paint a poem, dips
her brush into ink, scrolls
the small birds of onji
down the tanzaku paper,
wings outstretched into meaning.
This night, there is no wind.
No moon’s reflection.
Only the scent of incense
and jasmine tea, only lips pressed
together, small vein in a forehead
pulsing. The room awash
in candlelight.
Chiyo – ni paints a portrait.
Turns calligraphy of cherry blossoms
into  curve of kimono sleeve.
Here is a woman ready
to attend the temple, a woman
who notices the butterfly
also
voiceless.

Terry Ann Carter is a poet and paper artist who has published four books of lyric poetry and five chapbooks of haiku. She teaches Japanese literary forms at Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Terry Ann is also the president of Haiku Canada. (terryanncarter.com)