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Selection from Tanka Diary
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Selection from Tanka Diary

Hummingbird alters its course, zooming
closer to check out the giant hibiscus flower.
Only me in my red summer dress.


Bamboo, jointed like my finger, pointed at the sky.
What fine fishing poles you’d make for the girl
who spent hours dreaming at the lake.


With daily commuters, an extra passenger
on the bus. Ladybug clinging to the window
didn’t need to pay a fare.


The fence surrounding our family garden
saves lettuce and carrots from hungry
rabbits who like salad as much as we do.


Pedestrians on neighborhood sidewalks,
swerving slightly to avoid smearing a child’s
exuberant drawings in colored chalk.


The day I notice, returning from my walk,
a hole worn through the heel of one sock,
my thoughtful sister has sent me a new pair.

Harryette Mullen  

Harryette Mullen is the author of several poetry collections, including Recyclopedia: Trimmings; S*PeRM**K*T; Muse & Drudge, winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award; and Sleeping with the Dictionary, a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her poems have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Swedish, Danish, Turkish, and Bulgarian. She teaches American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA. A collection of her essays and interviews, The Cracks Between, is due from University of Alabama Press in 2012. Her Tanka Diary is forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2013.

Copyright © 2011 Harryette Mullen
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Harryette Mullen. "Selection from Tanka Diary." African American Review 44.4 (2011): 705-705. Project MUSE. Web. 27 Jan. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Mullen, H.(2011). Selection from Tanka Diary. African American Review 44(4), 705. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Harryette Mullen. "Selection from Tanka Diary." African American Review 44, no. 4 (2011): 705-705. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed January 27, 2013).
T1 - Selection from Tanka Diary
A1 - Harryette Mullen
JF - African American Review
VL - 44
IS - 4
SP - 705
EP - 705
PY - 2011
PB - The Johns Hopkins University Press
SN - 1945-6182
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_american_review/v044/44.4.mullen.html
N1 - Volume 44, Number 4, Winter 2011
ER -


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