Dispatches: LA – Homebound Haiku by Amy Uyematsu

By Amy Uyematsu. Posted April 4, 2020.
Homebound Haiku
Unstoppable spring -
            burst of green on bare branches
                        virus without bounds

Photo by Amy Uyematsu.

Which is scarier -
            bullets, viral pandemics,
                        a mob ruled by fear

No time to prepare -
            a self-absorbed president's
                        lies and excuses

Pandemic or not -
            the White House sees dollar signs
                        downplays human life

Still taking our walks
            we are struck by the orange
                        of this spring's poppies

Now that you stay home
            I am cooking up a storm -
                        our waistlines thicken

Is it only me -
            the clouds are more beautiful
                        a stranger's smile too

What deadly choices -
            not enough ventilators
                        who's more deserving?

Cherry Blossoms from the book “Wise Trees.” Photo courtesy of Amy Uyematsu.

The streets so quiet
            no children at the playground
                        but the bluest skies

How to stay healthy -
            Netflix, old books, new poems
                        sustain that deep breath

No more zumba class -
            so last night I shut my door
                        cha-cha'ed my heart out

A two-month lockdown?
            Grandpa confined at Gila
                        three relentless years

I used to teach math
            but it took a pandemic
                        for graphs to take hold

Exponential curves -
            once incomprehensible,
                        now daily fixtures

These are the hard facts -
            I'm older than 65
                        may not make the cut

Left in plastic bags
            on the streets of Ecuador -
                        unthinkable end

Find a way to smile
            look at something beautiful
                        all the while grieving

The cruelest spring -
            we watch the rising death toll,
                        cherry blossoms too

Japanese maple leaves. Photo by Amy Uyematsu.

Amy Uyematsu
18 haiku, excerpts
from 3/20/20-4/3/20

Poet’s Bio:

Amy Uyematsu is a Sansei poet and teacher from Los Angeles.  She currently teaches a writing workshop at the Far East Lounge in Little Tokyo.

Cover Photo:

Downtown LA Skyline from LA City Market, 11th & S. San Pedro St. 2018. Photo by Eddie Wong.

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