Haiku Kukai 04 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2021


only one spoon in the drawer
the kid everyone chooses last
to be on their team


river flowing
through a canyon
sweat runs down their spine


eating fruit
like I really should
no thank you


claws on hardwood
a slobbery kiss
to end the night

Priscilla Sabourin (5)

I love this haiku. I have a puppy, named Huxley, who I have talked a lot about this year. Sometimes at night he gets the “zoomies” and starts running around the house all hyper and excited. I imagine myself staying at my boyfriend’s house and just as we are about to go to sleep Huxley sprints into the room, jumps on the bed, and starts licking our faces. This event has happened many times and this haiku sums it up perfectly. Reece Brown, Fall 2021


Dora fishing pole
a perfect night
with my dad

Reece Brown (3)


nothing funny about
my humerus

Barrett Van (12)

I just thought this was clever. The exclamation point adds so much, and the twist at the end made my cringe and audibly react when I first read it. It also just reminds me of anytime I’d hit my funny bone, and a grandparent would say “wasn’t very funny was it?” Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021

This haiku just made me smile. I like the sound in it, and I like the play on words saying “nothing funny about my humerus.” At face value it’s just a silly, funny haiku that made me feel happy. I do think it’s interesting though that the connection of the humerus and the ulna make up the “funny bone,” so I don’t know if that was the goal here to make a play on that, but if it was it was very clever, and I loved it. I also wonder if this haiku was maybe about breaking your arm (like a humerus) or if it was about hitting your funny bone on something. Regardless, I very much enjoyed it, and I like to think of it as hitting your funny bone because it’s not funny at all when that happens. India Guerrero, Fall 2021


the ocean greets me
teasing and pushing
how long has it been

Shay Buchanan (40


plastic bucket
half full with presents
a new sister

Priscilla Sabourin

I love the idea of a young child discovering they’re about to have a younger sibling by finding a bucket full of presents. That sense of discovery and of “oh my god!!!” just gives this poem such a sense of life and urgency that really resonated with me. Mason Hoyt, Fall 2021


she deserves so much more
she doesn’t know it yet
but I do

Reece Brown

I really enjoyed this haiku because it evokes a sense of admiration for a person. There are times where people really doubt their capabilities and focus on the negative side of things. However, having a person to support you and sees your strengths even if you don’t is a wonderful feeling. I imagined a person in distress and on the verge of a breakdown due to their appearance or abilities. But I imagine their partner providing reassurance by telling her about all her amazing qualities. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021


sleeping in separate beds
the other one “snores”




Paul Cushman (8)

The visual imagery I get from this haiku is a long glare, a deep and monotone voice, and a long silence. While the person glaring at you decides whether or not to grant this armistice, you stand there, trying to not look fearful. You’re terrified on the inside, but you need this to go through. When they finally say “Granted,” though, you find the fear isn’t quite over yet. There’s still what happens during and after the armistice, as well as trying your best to keep the armistice going for as long as you need it to. Shay Buchanan, Fall 2021

There is a weight in this haiku. The negative space between armistice and granted allows for the reader to feel that weight. Daniel Clear, Fall 2021


how to regain freedom
Queen’s Gambit

Shay Buchanan (3)


drink water
I still feel like shit


you told me
you’re not afraid
of this body

Maya Gomez (6)


for you I’d hang the moon
I’ll give you an orchard

Paul Cushman (5)


red skin blisters
the roof of my mouth
burns from your kiss


there’s no such thing as monsters
only lies and whispers
melting glacier


no one sees the sweat and tears
they just see the product
wolf spider


my mother and I
walk down Prairie Street
my three-legged dog

Maya Gomez

I like this one cause it’s very simple, there’s not a lot of hidden meaning behind it. The image of a three-legged dog is a sweet one, and I like that this dog is just as much a part of the family as anyone else. :) Mason Hoyt, Fall 2021


1:00 am
dimly lit parking lot
dance with me, darling

Allison Durham

I think this haiku is so romantic! I want to experience this haiku. I think this date idea is magnificent, though maybe a little dangerous being out so late in a dimly lit parking lot. However, imagining two lovers dancing together late at night in a parking lot is adorable. The last line is what really makes the haiku, because beforehand, if the last line weren’t there, it could seem a bit dangerous and scary! Maya Gomez, Fall 2021

I absolutely loved this haiku because of its romance. This immediately reminded me of a scene in the notebook where the couple stood in the middle of the street and danced enjoying the comfort of each other. The word darling provided endearment creates a loving and even intimate feeling. Being alone with your significant other sharing a personal moment that further connects them to each other. The parking lot being dimly lit sets the romantic mood like candles in a romantic date. This haiku effectively set the scene for a cute old fashion date. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021


hibiscus flower
wilts without supervision
i thought i knew you

Mason Hoyt

I really like this haiku because I associate hibiscus with mother's day. It's a common mother's day gift but especially in the Midwest or Illinois it requires a lot of nurturing or care because it's actually a tropical plant. So this haiku speaks of promise in the hibiscus but also a sense of neglect. Randy Brooks, Fall 2021


white peonies 
sharp scissors 
a beautiful bouquet for ants

Daniel Clear

White peonies, representing an innocence that you do not have and a false self that you are not, are gifted to you. In anger of having to pretend to be like these peonies, you cut them to pieces. The shredded petals land on the ground, and beneath your feet, you see the ants beginning to inspect the pieces, maybe taking a few good ones back to their hill. The ants clean up the mess you made, burying the pieces in their den like an accomplice cleaning up the blood of a crime scene. Your facade remains. Shay Buchanan, Fall 2021


aunt’s handwriting
the stroke lingers
in her fingertips

Trinity Pesko (7)


in front of my nose 
dent in the door

Daniel Clear


frozen ankles
we kiss
in front of a waterfall

Trinity Pesko (6)


sticky note
two drifting lovers
find peace

Nico Velazquez (4)

I interpreted this haiku in two ways. The first time I read it, I imagined a couple who hasn’t realized that they need to break up trying to hold a conversation, and the easiest way to do so is by passing sticky notes: no words said aloud, no need to stare at their face. Upon rereading, I imagined the breakup occurring over sticky notes because of those aforementioned reasons. At least this way, they find peace without confrontation. Allison Durham, Fall 2021


checking in with mom 
she asks if I’ve gone to church
I tell her what I got thrifting

Nico Velazquez (11)

This haiku made me giggle! It’s such a relatable feeling — avoiding those hard to answer questions and avoiding reality in general with fun frivolous things. The last line structurally acts as a funny surprise to end the haiku on a good laugh. Beyond being funny, it raises questions about how this person is doing and if they have any feelings towards the church. Maya Gomez, Fall 2021


grating onions
potato pancakes
worth the tears

Trinity Pesko (4)


too cold for short sleeves
chattering laughter
makes us warm

Nathan Gallop (4)

The second I read this, I thought of those first few autumn days, most notably when I was fourteen or fifteen. I was too stubborn to admit I needed a coat yet so eager to make the most of spending time with my friends. Even with the implications that it’s cold outside, there is so much warmth in this haiku, and I can’t help but smile when I read it. Cheers to friends and fall memories. Allison Durham, Fall 2021


deadbolt locked
the only key in my hand


a hand
still on my leg
just don’t encourage

Nathan Gallop (8)

This haiku carried a very strong message about people today. Consent is very important, but people don’t always follow that regulation. In fact, in rape allegations women are not believed to be raped because they might be viewed as encouraging the behavior and therefore consenting to sexual activities. However, women always fall victim to this. An innocent gesture such as a hand on a leg can be taken as the go ahead to perform nonconsensual actions. This haiku left me speechless as I realize how easy it is to become a victim. Diana Hernandez, Fall 2021


the long way
doesn’t pass
your bedroom

Nathan Gallop (9)


the extra half-second
before you leave
I know that look

Nathan Gallop (7)

This could have been interpreted in so many ways and that’s what makes this Haiku great to me. I read it first as pure love in one single look that can only be shared between two people. Then I read it as innocent love young where a couple may kiss one another for the very first time. I also read it sort of erotically thanks to Paul. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021


pot, kettle

Nathan Gallop (8)


in the flame of your gaslight
only to be proven right

Allison Durham


new quests
will this be the one?
seed corn

Mason Hoyt (3)


my mom taken by
her own body,
the vessel she trusted with her life

Diana Hernandez (6)


the way you
Held me

Diana Hernandez (8)

I imagine a relationship that lacks trust and has become toxic, controlling, and insecure. I like this haiku because the first two lines suggest a positive experience or feeling, but once the third line comes around you are hit with the exact opposite of your initial thoughts. This also could be representative of the relationship. At first, maybe everything was fine and they loved the feeling of the other holding them. Although, as time went on things turned for the worse and now they are no longer being held, but rather held down by their significant other. Reece Brown, Fall 2021

Loved the emphasis on “Held” using capitalization. This piece actually took me a few reads to understand. The first two lines led me to think it was romantic, but the connotation of “suffocation” is so strong that it makes the reader re-read to figure out the meaning. It was on my second read that I actually understood the story, which I think is super impressive in a haiku. Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021


costumes crew
ants go marching one by one
don’t waste any space


looking at you
the Earth could swallow us
and I wouldn’t notice

India Guerrero (8)

This was an intense romantic connection I got from reading this Haiku. I read this haiku as pure love one person has for another. It seems that this person may have found their soulmate, but as the haiku suggests, the world around them is engulfing them. This begs a question if this person the author is writing about ios truly good for them or just unknowingly toxic for their wellbeing. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021


friendly ghost
to his own funeral

India Guerrero (9)


stained glass red rose
finally, a flower meant
to last forever

Diana Hernandez (5)

This haiku reminded me of my parents. My dad only buys my mom fake flowers because they never die. Some of the reasons he does this are not so sweet, like the fact that real flowers are expensive and that he finds it a waste of resources to buy something that will wilt in less than a week. Mostly though it is very romantic. It is almost like he is saying his love for my mom will never die, which is beautiful. One year, at a renaissance fair, he bought her a red rose made of metal and I imagine it must look pretty similar to this glass one. I think this haiku is very sweet and pretty. Barrett Van, Fall 2021


mouth to cheek
holes left in the wood
by tiny teeth

Paul Cushman (4)


watching over me 
in the night 
eight eyes 

Daniel Clear

Right before going to bed, you spot a small spider in your sheets. It’s a very, very small spider. There’s no possible way it could be harmful. You pick it up and put it on the wall, watching it observe its new surroundings. Grateful for the new friend, you turn out the lights, trying to make out where you last saw the little spider. You head to bed, thinking about the spider watching over you. It may have more eyes than you and look different, but the more eyes it has, the better it can keep watch. Shay Buchanan, Fall 2021


first legal drink
wasn’t even carded
what a waste

Allison Durham

This haiku is so extremely relatable to me. I am one of the youngest people in my class - I always have been, so of course I was the last one to turn 21. I was so excited to finally be 21 on my birthday; it honestly felt unreal, and I couldn’t believe it was happening. So, naturally, when I only got carded once all day I was like what the heck is going on here somebody better card me! Even later on that week I went to the bar and still didn’t get carded. It was just funny how I’d been waiting for so long to finally be able to get a drink at a restaurant or bar and when I could, I never even got questioned. So, yeah this haiku really hits the nail on the head for me. India Guerrero, Fall 2021


muscle cramp
but this time
from smiling

India Guerrero (8)

I love this haiku because it is so jam packed with a story. This person hasn’t smiled or laughed in a long time. Do they have depression or another mental illness? This time, something has changed that. Their joy is fresh and new and exciting. Are they in love? Did they make a new friend? It captures that the little things in life are so beautiful. Maya Gomez, Fall 2021


leaning over the barre
cheeks pink with heat
long night of dancing


dizzy spell

Barrett Van (6)


not far past the road
to the homestead
cemetery gate


Saturday morning
syrupy fingers
search for the remote

Nico Velazquez (5)


printing transfer papers
half of my heart
in her suitcase

Priscilla Sabourin (6)


holding hands
in the takeout line
you smile


yellowing recipe card
from a ghost

India Guerrero (7)

I thought of my grandmother when I read this. She died around Mother’s Day a year before I was born. I obviously never met her. She left my mom a book of recipes that we use all the time. The pages are worn and yellow and in the handwriting of this woman I never met. I have eaten food made from her recipes though and I know how she writes. The little book gives insight about this woman who is a stranger to me. She is a ghost. She died before I was born. My mom always gets a little smile when she gets the recipe book down. It is special to her. It never occurred to me before reading this haiku that it is a little strange that I am following the instructions of a dead woman, but the woman had some good recipes. Barrett Van, Fall 2021


an open field
to guide
your hand 


a man walks barefoot
past the boot shop

India Guerrero (5)

This haiku is filled with great literary devices. First of all, the consonance really sings with all the b sounds. Additionally, the juxtaposition between the poor man in the rich bustling city is a great image in and of itself. Finally, the connection to Broadway along with boots instead of a more generic “shoe shop” suggests a reference to the musical Kinky Boots, which is all about downtrodden people trying to fight for what they believe in, albeit in a different sense. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021


you’re my . . .
monogamous young adult
special friend

Maya Gomez (15)

First of all, the addition of the ellipses is very well used in this haiku. Additionally, this poem gives a great commentary on our society’s need for labels, as well as the need for more gender-neutral language. Also, this society also could use less-agist language. There is something weird about calling two grown, established adults boyfriend and girlfriend. It applies that young is only supposed to happen and valid when you are young. This haiku perfectly grasps the need for all these things while also the awkwardness in trying to express them, whether as a whole to the world or just to attempt to define one relationship with a specific person. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021

Just been here. It’s so weird being in the middle ground between a friend and a romantic partner. Anytime you try to explain the relationship to someone, it just feels super confusing and nobody really gets it. Personally, my relationship with my monogamous young adult special friend was going pretty well, but other people tended to get uncomfortable about it. I guess people just can’t stand not having a label. Nathan Gallop, Fall 2021

This haiku perfectly encapsulates the complexities of a new relationship. The contrast of letting someone know that you care about them without putting an official label on it is the epitome of getting older. Once a person has had their first real heartbreak, they learn that those names—girlfriend, boyfriend, or partner—mean more than what you initially expect, especially considering that the label is bound to change for better or worse. What this haiku says is, “I like you,” which is scary enough to say in general. Allison Durham, Fall 2021


you call me beautiful
in another language
my heart races towards you

Maya Gomez (6)


urgently tugged sleeve
pick me up
put me on your shoulders


fixed gaze
a woman with a purple hat
receives bad news


carving out time
butter knife

Maya Gomez (9)


empty boots upright 
in the middle 
of the sidewalk 


we give thanks
to the harvest moon


year's worth of other people’s
gastrointestinal issues
my toilet brush

Nico Velazquez (10)


I’d like to find a garden 
within me

Paul Cushman (8)


my mom called 
about church 
it burned down

Nico Velazquez (7)


haze over
golden cornfields
harvest moon


tarnished gold
a family legacy
wrapped around my finger

Priscilla Sabourin

I love the use of “tarnished gold” in this haiku. It really gives the sense that their family used to be rich and important, and now all that remains is a worn, ragged version of what once was. It’s definitely a powerful visual, and overall a really potent haiku. Mason Hoyt, Fall 2021

I love this haiku; it just fits perfectly into my life. I have the same birthday as my great grandfather, and we both share a birth month with my great grandmother. So, we all have the same birthstone, and we always used to do a little family get together to celebrate all the birthdays. When my great grandmother died, she willed me this gorgeous gold ring with our birthstone in it. I wasn’t allowed to have it for a few years (my mom's rule because I was a teenager), but when I was finally allowed to wear it, it was so special to me. This haiku just reminds me of my great grandmother and that ring she wanted me to have, so it’s really special to me. India Guerrero, Fall 2021

 My mom went to Millikin before me and was in the same sorority. When I got initiated, she gave me a golden ring with the crest of our sorority on it. The ring used to be hers. She wore it frequently in college. Now it is mine to protect and cherish. My grandmother also went to Millikin, but I do not have a ring from her that pertains to this school. I have her high school class ring from the 60s because we also went to the same high school. It is gold with a mother of pearly inlay, and it has her maiden initials, L.E., engraved into it along with the year and our mascot, a tiger. Both my mother and my grandmother have smaller fingers than I do, so I have to wear both of these rings on my pinky fingers because it is the only finger that they will fit on. It is cool to look down at my hands and see the history of my family displayed in these old gold rings. I am carrying on their legacies. This haiku really spoke to me because of that. Barrett Van, Fall 2021


soft orange light
on a dreamy Sunday
I hear “goodmorning mommy!”


a car ride to somewhere
I don’t know
my mother is a liar

Reece Brown (8)


sinking deeper
in the sea
turn on the lamp


bachelor party
on your lap dance

India Guerrero (12)

The line breaks in this haiku were so clever. The reader has filled in the blank of the third line with “on your marriage.” However, they are betrayed with the actual third line. It’s thought provoking. I’ve always hated the bachelor party tropes, and this haiku gives such a sarcastic and sassy tone that perfectly encompasses what is wrong with it. This is truly beautifully written. Trinity Pesko, Fall 2021

This haiku is slightly less of an imagined response, but more completely agreeing with the message behind it. I hate the tradition of lap dances and strippers during a bachelor party. It doesn’t make sense to me because although you aren’t married yet, you are dating, and better yet engaged! I think it's a gross and outdated tradition and I can imagine the female in the relationship or her best friend having these exact thoughts. Reece Brown, Fall 2021

I love the little twist at the end of this Haiku. It really made me think how disgusting the culture around bachelor parties are. It’s like frat parties for slightly more grown men who have more money to do immoral things; such as cheat on their soon to be wife. It’s really gross how men think their last night of freedom is also the night before they commit themselves to what’s supposed to be their lifelong partner. Nico Velazquez, Fall 2021


breathe in through your nose
       train horn blares       sirens and lights
breathe out through your mouth

Barrett Van (7)

© 2021, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.