Haiku Kukai 05 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023


intrusive thoughts 
where did they find 
the key

Hannah Smith

I like this haiku because it reminds me of my best friend. I will have the most intrusive out of pocket thoughts, and before I can even verbalize them, or perform the action of them, she automatically knows what I’m thinking or what I was going to do. Oftentimes she will do them with me and that makes it ten times as fun. It’s like she has a key to my little intrusive thoughts because we think so similarly. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023



dig deep
as they engulf me


the more thought i give it 
the bigger it 

Hannah Smith (7)

I overthink very often and this haiku beautifully depicts that. Normally when I talk to people about my worries, they tell me “Stop thinking about it, you’re just overthinking it!” However, when people say that it makes me overthink more. Nothing I do can stop me from overthinking, my mind is just constantly feeding the thought. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

I didn’t get the chance to talk about this one in class because I had forgotten what I said, but it really resonates with me throughout my life. It feels like you’re reminding yourself that thinking about “it” won't make it better, but then you end up thinking about it anyway because you’re thinking about not thinking about it. It’s an endless cycle that you can’t stop. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

I suffered from severe anxiety from the ages of 10-16, and for most of that time I did not know that’s what I was struggling with. My generalized anxiety developed into separation anxiety around the time I was in fourth grade, and I feared that leaving the house would worsen my anxiety. My anxiety had anxiety! I still remember how consuming it was. It kept me from hanging out with friends, enjoying myself when I was at school, or anywhere really, eating normally, building friendships, etc, and was quite debilitating. I think my parents just thought I was anti-social, and really tried to encourage me to hang out with friends, but it was consistently very difficult for me to enjoy myself around others. The more I tried to “feel normal” or get my anxiety to go away, the worse it would get. This haiku reminds me of that period of my life, but I’m happy to report that this experience no longer describes my every-day life. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


not enough.
hold the throne

Mary Grace Gallagher (4)


lie awake mid night
not smart enough
for nursing school


guarding her mind 
with care 
daily affirmations

Hannah Smith (3)

Daily affirmations are something I want to get into doing. I feel as though the way you start your day affects the rest of the day and starting it off with self-love is so positive. This haiku makes it seem as though the girl is very particular about what she tells herself in her daily affirmations and I love seeing people trying to take care of their minds. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


falling to the floor
the paint is chipping

Sky Choe (6)

Falling to the ground sobbing is a feeling I am all too familiar with. I can feel the despair this person is feeling. So much despair that they’re trying to distract themselves and notice the paint is chipping maybe on a table leg or something I imagine. It is such a simple haiku but evokes so much emotion. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023



sunbeams on your chest
tracing their shape
before you go

Tanner Essex (4)

I like this haiku because it creates a strong visual. The word choice is interesting and made up of words that aren’t necessarily used all the time. This haiku makes me think of something not lasting very long. Something like a Sunbeam is not going to last forever, so it is that idea that eventually it will have to go away. I also like how the word choice doesn’t dictate an opinion or sense of feeling towards this event. It can be taken positively or negatively, but it is completely up to the reader and most likely their past experiences that may or may not be similar. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


scabs on my fingers
from picking apart
intrusive thoughts

Maya Gomez, Fall 2021

This haiku is incredibly relatable because I have dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking) and I have constant scabs and scars near my nails where I pick at my cuticles while being unable to stop myself. Since this is compulsive, it is related a little bit to OCD and intrusive thoughts. While this person is "picking apart" their thoughts and ruminating on them, they pick at their skin to cope with that anxiety. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

I like how this haiku uses picking apart literally by saying scabs on my fingers but we all know that it is not literally being picked apart by their fingers. I also like it because I think this is a very relatable haiku because many people sit there going through thoughts that they do not want to be thinking. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

I really like this haiku because it makes something you can’t see (the intrusive thoughts) feel so strong, its tangible and you not only are picking at your fingers but the intrusive thoughts because you can’t ignore them. And the scabs on the fingers show this is a reoccurring habit and a cycle. They skin will be healing, but you will reopen them from picking at them and the thoughts obsessively. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

It has that plinking feeling of doing a task over and over till it is no longer a thought but an automatic action. I like particularly the word scab because it draws upon the feeling of already picking till you open up the wound, letting it heal, and yet still you must pick. This has to be one of my favorite haikus so far because of how simple it is. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


tape my mouth shut
so I can't say
the wrong thing

Kaia Garbacz (8)


alone to my thoughts
crickets sound outside 
what if

Madelyn Letourneau

After reading this poem again, I deeply enjoy its ambiguity and the many possibilities it presents with its ending. The question of “what if” is something that can be both positive and negative, and can hold very different meanings depending on what this person is thinking. Maybe this person is daydreaming about pursuing the life or career of their dreams! What if I moved across the country, what if I went for that job, etc. Alternatively, maybe this is a less exciting thing, or something negative has just happened in this person’s life. What if this person was still alive, what if this bad thing didn’t happen, what if I had said something different, etc. The endless stories that this haiku tells is what I love about it so much, and I’m glad that I came across it again! Leah Flint, Fall 2023


he laughs 
memories flash
i shouldn't go back 

Madelyn Letourneau (6)


worst night of my life
pencil sharpener in hand 
i want to snap

Madelyn Letourneau (3)


new thoughts, old patterns
secondhand smoke
on my mom's hoodie

Kaia Garbacz (4)


balcony confrontation
white knuckle the railing
l'appel du vide

Kaia Garbacz


free will
my throat

Anna Quick (7)

The prompt that was chosen for this week's haiku was intrusive thoughts. I think that this haiku was a perfect representation of that. Everyone has once had a feeling like this and I can say I have too. The amount of free will we all have is amazing yet no one really takes advantage of this. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


steal candy
from a baby
intrusive thoughts

Anna Quick (5)


I turn the key 
and convince myself 
I didn’t lock the door

Bella Birdsley (11)

This haiku really resonated with me because I always freak myself out about this kind of stuff. I always have to verbally remind myself that I unplugged the hair dryer, or I locked the door, or I blew out the candle, or else I will get a random thought in the middle of the day that I didn’t and my house is gonna burn down. I love the way this is set up because it allows us to see the physical action of turning the key, but not processing the actual meaning of locking the door. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023

When I was in high school, I used to have to leave my car in my parents’ driveway because their cars took up space in the actual garage, so I would be hyper conscious of whether or not my car doors were locked. I would stand in the driveway for an extra ten seconds and keep pressing the button on my fob to hear the “beep!” to ensure it would be locked at least four times, even though I knew it was locked after the first. My dad didn’t do that, and often left his keys in his front seat and unlocked because he’d misplace them and just leaving them in the car was easier (and it was in the garage so he didn’t have to worry), but he did that once with my car and the night he did that we discovered that, come morning, my car was stolen. It was a horrible experience and I lost everything I had in there for a while (because we eventually did find and get it back), but I have been extremely paranoid about it ever since, and now I lock every door I access; my car, my house, my bedroom, etc. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


mind racing
the last thing
he ever said to me

Leah Flint (5)


stress clean
my bathroom
— head full of shit

Leah Flint (6)

I really love the irony of the haiku. Cleaning is such a mind clearer and something I do when I need to get something off my mind. The irony of the head being full of shit when cleaning the bathroom is a nice touch as well. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


dead flowers 
has it really been 
that long

Bella Birdsley (15)

I love this haiku because I’ve never noticed how much we measure our lives in flowers. We get flowers for all kinds of occasions, and they’re beautiful and remind us of the time we got them. But then one day we notice their old and wilted, and we’ve moved on from the moment we got those flowers. I love to take a flower from each bouquet and try to preserve them. But, some day we’ll get a new bouquet and wait for that one to die too. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


thoughts run wild 
unable to turn them off
I go for a walk

Kailyn Coates

I made it into a habit two summers ago to walk my dog every morning as a form of exercise, one that I enjoyed, and also as a way to spend some time with my dog! This past summer, I kept up the trend and expressed to my parents that I really wanted to continue my morning walks when I went off to school since they were such a great way to start my day. My classes start a little bit later this year, so when I came back to school before classes started, I made sure to institute the routine of getting up to work out in the mornings, and I’m really proud of myself that I’ve kept up with it. I do feel like I spend too much time in my head at points, and taking walks always helps me re-center myself and clear my head. It’s a wonder what the outdoors and a little bit of movement can do for a person. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


a new reality 
unable to put 
the book down

Kailyn Coates (6)


his arm hangs 
off the door frame 
i should bite it 

Madelyn Letourneau (5)

This intrusive thought is so funny because it is so relatable. I have an urge to bite my friends sometimes and it really comes out of nowhere and I will often just do it because it’s funny and starts a conversation. I have to be close with the person though obviously, this doesn’t just happen with strangers. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

This haiku is so funny to me but SO real. I do this to my friends all the time. It’s such an odd intrusive thought but that’s what makes it so funny. It is almost like a love language to me at this point. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


bite my tongue 
swallow my teeth
this teenage anger

Eden Niebrugge

This haiku is SOOOOO real for me- for most of my life, I have been biting my tongue to keep myself from saying something that I know will get me screamed at or argued with because the people I speak to don’t agree or think I’m wrong/disgusting for thinking as much. Namely, for queer and LGBTQIA+ ideologies, I am met with gross aggression and bitter hatred from the people I care enough to talk about it with (and it’s important I do talk about those things AS a queer nonbinary person, even if they don’t technically know that), and as I have gotten older I have only learned to keep my mouth shut if I want to have a barely pleasant experience at my parent’s house with them and my brother. I have been keeping myself quiet since I was in middle school, and that anger and outrage has festered within me for a very long time. The anger makes me itch, and burn, and wish to blow up in the hope that I will finally be listened to, but I know that that will never be the case. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


in a crowded room 
breaking glass 
just a thought

Cami Jones

This haiku is also relatable because I feel as I have so many thoughts that I want to do in certain situations but I know I cant actually do them. This is a perfect example of one of those situations. Sometimes there is just so much going through your mind and your brain almost wants to take over your body in a way but your conscious always comes back at the right time. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023


they giggle 
I turn 
about me?

Elly Hermanson (11)

I relate to this one a lot. I know it's illogical and self-centered to assume everyone is always thinking about you, but my anxiety doesn't seem to give a shit about logic, and will always come up with reasons why the people laughing must be laughing about me. Sean House, Fall 2023


quiet classroom
loud laughter 

Cami Jones

This haiku really reminds me of middle and high school. Being in a class, where it is supposed to be quiet, but you and your friends can’t stop laughing, is one of the best feelings in the world. You know you are supposed to focus, but the joy you are sharing with friends outweighs all of it. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


ca'nt seem to erase 
what I’ve seen 
what could’ve happened 

Elly Hermanson

I love this haiku- the way that it is written definitely adds to the effectiveness of the first line with the mistype of the word “can’t,” which starts off the poem with an airy, lighter tone, then grows darker in the possibilities of its tone shift with the next two lines. There is a sense of loss or sadness from this haiku, and I really appreciate the finality of the third line in “what could’ve happened” creating this picture of someone longing for more, or mourning the different scenarios and ways things could have turned out had things been better. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


the clouds swirl
I did/n’t
love you

Elijah Jamison

I LOVE this haiku. It makes me think of all the times that I did love someone but regretted it or wished that I didn’t. I am someone that feels their emotions very strongly, love being one of them. Even though Elijah mentioned in class that this was not specifically what they had written, but rather an accidental combination of two haiku, I love that they ended up like this because it really helps actualize and visualize the feelings that I have just discussed. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023



one person 
     one plate . . .

Ny Scott (4)


sun and moon
      blue to white
   I see “M”


door opening
she's finally here
where have you been


driving at midnight
streetlights overhead
where did the time go

Sean House (4)


heart growing fonder
seeing your life
through texts

Tanner Essex (10)

I never get to see my sister anymore now that I don’t go to high school anymore. I really miss her, but we are both so busy and don’t get to see each other enough. She lives 40 minutes away from me, but we just can’t make time to see each other. But I do get to text her every day and see her grow as a person and a student every day. Even though I don’t get to see her, I can still watch her grow and change through our text messages. Anna Quick, Fall 2023


two cold weathers 
      only to see . . .

Ny Scott (4)


sleep through alarms
a wet nose
needs to go potty

Tanner Essex (12)


my first job
serving the table
I used to regular


green toothbrush
in my cup
for when she stays the night

Sky Choe

This haiku is very sweet and portrays the people in the middle of relationship- far enough in to where she stays over for enough nights to need a toothbrush but not far enough where they live together. The imagery is descriptive yet leaves room for the reader to input their own details in how the bathroom or house might look. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


new girlfriend
her birthday
on his story

Leah Flint (7)

This haiku is very amusing and very real. It seems like every guy I have been with has done something like this. You go from knowing everything about a person to seeing their life through social media posts. It was a unique perspective on a topic that is unfortunately too familiar. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023

I like haiku that are relatable and this is another one that is very relatable. This is such a statement and I think when things like this happen you have to try to make yourself not care or convince yourself you don’t care when deep down you know you have feelings towards the situation. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023



she called it
“sunny rain”
the way I’d light up

Sky Choe (4)


breathe in
breathe out
finally home

Sky Choe (6)

That feeling of finally being home after a long semester is just so refreshing. We take in that first breath of relief and it just feels so magical. I know a lot of my stress stems from school, and I absolutely love the feeling of returning to my childhood room and not having to worry anymore about what goes on at school. It’s the best feeling in the world. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023

This one made me think of coming home from a long and stressful day of classes and finally being able to relax for a short while. Sean House, Fall 2023

I really like this haiku because even though it mentions home, it does not mention a specific place. Home can quite literally be home, but it can also be a person, a thing, or even an inanimate object, and when you have this thing, you instantly feel better. You can truly feel the relief of being home, and even though you have no idea where specifically that place is for this author, you know where it is for you. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


sleeping roommate
the door
creaking bloody murder

Leah Flint (11)

I love it when there is a form of personification in haiku because it feels more like the object has a personality. I love the description of the creaking being “bloody murder” because it’s a play on the words screaming bloody murder. I can imagine the piercing sound cutting through the silence and the person trying to open in as slow as possible and just wincing at the sound because your attempts at being quiet are futile. Like when you’re opening a bag of chips in a quiet class. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


over a week of being apart
he texts to ask
if we can talk


turning the thermostat down
to start the fireplace
artificial winter

Bella Birdsley (8)

I am all for self-actualization and because of that it can be the middle of summer in Florida with the outside beaming down with rays of blistering sun. however if I am in the mood for snuggling up with Netflix and hot coco, that thermostat is going to 50 so fast and I am going to be burrito-ed in my blanket even fast. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


arm hole by arm hole
a coat of wings
my guardian angel

Madelyn Letourneau (5)

This is literally why I steal clothes, specifically jackets and hoodies, from friends and families. When I wear these items i like the feeling of not being alone and oddly they do feel like a guardian angel. I like my mom’s jacket in particular that has her name because it truly feels like she is always around me, even over 1,000 miles away. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


wide awake tonight
missing your snores
keeping me up

Tanner Essex (3)

My mother and boyfriend snore, a lot, and I miss them so much. Over the summer, I would get so annoyed with their snores keeping me up all night, but now that I’m away, I truly miss hearing their snores every night. I don’t lay awake all night missing them anymore, but I do think about both of them a lot when I am getting ready to go to bed. I live close to home and can go see them whenever I want, but my schedule doesn’t permit that, so hopefully I can hear those snores this weekend if anything. Anna Quick, Fall 2023


arms around my waist
after our storm

Madelyn Letourneau (3)

This haiku is one that can be taken either positively or negatively as well. The first and last line are very cohesive. They almost say the same thing in different words. They are both the state of being after a either strong emotion or strong comparison to that of weather. In the middle line almost contradicts the other two. It is not what I would expect to happen after an argument, but maybe this is a toxic relationship? It could also be a healthy relationship. That is completely probably up to the readers experiences, and how they have dealt with these types of situations before in the past. Either way I like the sandwich the first and third line make to really help the second line stand out. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


campfire stories
the pop and sizzle
of a burning marshmallow

Madelyn Letourneau (5)


spring break road trip
with the sister
I always wished I’d had

Sky Choe (6)


tap tap tap
I drift away
lost in a prayer


we pick a spot of freshly dried grass
in Fairview
class dismissed.


Sunday sunrise—
24 more hours of

Grace Brixa (6)

This is an all too familiar feeling for me every Sunday. While I use this day as my reset day, it never feels long enough. I get the chance to catch up on sleep after a long week but also battle the stress of completing my hours of homework. This haiku was very relatable. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


homework in my room 
the sun sets 
on another wednesday

Cami Jones (5)


bar light dims
the regulars


towel on the door 
waiting by the phone 
haven’t heard from you


rooftop panic
willow in the back
to clear my head


syncing my heart
to a fading


in our pajamas
lazy morning
in our bed

Hannah Smith

I didn’t mention this poem in class, but I really liked it! I wanted to mention how it could be lovers sharing a bed together and waking up beside each other, but I took it as family. When you’re a little kid, and you wake up early on a weekend morning, and your mom invites you in to go back to sleep. It’s comforting! Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

it always feel good to sleep in for me. I've never slept in and felt like a lazy piece of shit despite societal conditioning's bests attempts. Sean House, Fall 2023


in love with
sorority sisterhood,
or perhaps just her

Eden Niebrugge (11)


money plate
passed around
not a dollar from me

Eden Niebrugge (4)


twin size bed
hold me

Hannah Smith

This poem also brings a sense of younger me, but it has a great transition into college as well. At my parent’s house, I have a twin bed. At Millikin, the same thing. Both have encompassed me my whole life, and I can’t imagine the vast space of a big bed. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


summer sun
fades into blue 
alone with the thought of you

Kailyn Coates

This haiku seems simple at first, and then made a lot more sense to me after I reread it. As the summer fades into the next season, I took this IQ as the thought of somebody feeding with the season as well. This happens very frequently. I season of life can change in the matter of just another season. Then, when I reread it again, I also thought of it being the thought of somebody being stuck with you for multiple seasons. So as the summer is shifting into winter or fall, the thought of somebody can’t escape your mind. This could go either way I think and I think that is the beauty of the haiku. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


silence between us
dad hugs 
a fresh start 

Kailyn Coates (7)


my hero 
not who they used to be
my villain

Kailyn Coates (4)

I really like this haiku and the way it frames growing up. It is crazy how people in your life can go from someone you look up to, to someone you can’t even be around. This haiku feels like the moment you find out that person isn’t who you had built them up to be. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


hospital bed
I lie with my best friend
watching each strand thin

Mary Grace Gallagher (5)


pink polka-dot
rain jacket
found in the attic


New Year’s Eve
blow out
missed the kiss at midnight

Mary Grace Gallagher (4)


holding the football
for Charlie Brown
dad never shows

Randy Brooks

I love the metaphor in this haiku, where Lucy would hold the football for Charlie Brown and then move it when he tried to kick it, leaving him to fall on the ground. Turning that into a metaphor about a father not showing up makes it so much sadder. Maybe the dad initiated a meeting, or maybe the kid did, but either way he never shows and the child feels the betrayal and disappointment associated with that. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


sprint behind the television
share a kiss
before we're caught

Kaia Garbacz (3)


bathroom stall
a note about the dance
hearts instead of titles


your fingerprints
on my rear view mirror
all that remains of us

Maddie Alger (4)

© 2023, Randy Brooks • Millikin University
All rights returned to authors upon publication.