a haiku

in the garden
sunning herself
a mantis, sated

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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beachcombing

At high tide, the sea ejects
foam and glass fishing floats.

We wait for the waters to recede,
tiptoe around anemones and crabs;
I spot a small green globe.

She says it belongs to a Japanese goddess,
her eyes plucked out by a vengeful lover
and cast into the deep.

I see only an old sake bottle
crafted into a sphere,
etched with sand and netting patterns.

Tomorrow, I will look for agates
while she searches for the goddess’s other eye.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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San Andreas

He unfolds the map of California in his lap,
shoves a Marlboro in his mouth
and lights his way to freedom.

The Mustang shrinks into a blip of color
as she stares out over the scarred plain,
the car’s candy-apple red body blazing
across the Central Valley scrubland.

Her shadow wavers in the hot sun,
a dust-covered caricature
with outstretched arms
and trembling fingers.

Beneath her feet, the ground
shifts without warning
and gives way.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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San Francisco, 1994

City lights reflecting in the club’s
oversized mirror keep my eyes
in a semi-permanent squint,
my judgment clouded, vision strained.

Someone passes me a menthol cigarette,
which I promptly gag on
then ask the sweaty, smiley guy next to me
if I can bum one of his unfiltered Camels.

My head spins from smoke and booze
and the sounds coming from the instruments
on stage—horns and bass and her voice,
that glorious honey voice tinged with sorrow,

dripping with everything that I love
and alternately hate about this city.
I finish my cigarette, crush it
with the heel of my Doc Marten

and stumble into the restroom to relieve myself
of a night’s worth of expensive tequila.
My own number mocks me from the stall wall,
an etched remnant of another night,

another life that couldn’t wait to be lead.
I shake it off and zip up, let her voice carry me
back into the dark interior and the lustful stares
of sweaty men with cigarettes and cash to burn.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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winter lament

I don’t ski or snowboard anymore.
Time has taken its toll on my knees
and the mountain is just too unforgiving.

But if I had my way,
I’d be flying down those slopes,
with my goggles fogged and my breath
stolen by furious flurries of precious white gold.

Instead, I sit by a cozy fire,
my bones covered by a wool blanket,
my dreams tied to the frost outside.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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a song, at midnight

His whistling rises with the moon;
softened trills and murmurings
grow louder in the dusking sky,

drift across my ceiling, down
into my waiting ears.

A halo of satisfaction rings his face,
sweat drying on his chest
as he leans back upon my balcony.

I gather his things
and place them by the door.
I know this tune is not meant for me.

But I listen to it, still,
and dream of my hands
tangled in his soft feathers.

Who will sing me to sleep
when the nightingale is paired?

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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Heaven

If Heaven does exist,
I wonder if a sun shines there.

It seems an awfully cold place to me,
locked away behind those pearly gates,
supported by clouds.

I wonder if so much whiteness is good
for the soul, for the eyes, for the mind—

surely, there is some sort of fire up above
to balance that below.

I wonder if I would know the difference
between the heat of His love
and the heat of what He has created.

If Heaven does indeed exist,
I hope it is orange and yellow and red.
I hope it is warm.

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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