Haiku Kukai 07 Favorites - Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023


winter storm
his hot chocolate eyes
warm me up

Kaia Garbacz (4)


bin of costumes
mom's first wedding dress
make believe


in the basement
I can still hear the echoes
of our laughter

Skylyr Choe

To me, basements are where things go to die or be forgotten. I love the way this haiku plays into that, while also contradicting it. The laughter has died and stayed in the basement, but can still be hard echoing. I think that is really interesting. I also love the way echoes is used here. Its not just the laughter that we are hearing, but faint and many echoes and whispers that we here because of it. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


soccer field wind sprints
goalie with
undiagnosed asthma

Kaia Garbacz (4)


graveyard shift
coming home to a bundle
of pink carnations

Sky Choe (4)

I really enjoy the imagery of this poem and how the author has taken themselves out of it. I can imagine coming home from working at a graveyard, seeing carnations lying on the kitchen counter and wondering if they are there for me. I also like the idea that flowers are often left on graves, and the flowers could be more disturbing than expected. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


for your contact
a custom ring tone
I no longer use

Sky Choe

I really liked this haiku because it reminds me of putting effort, specifically into a person. A lot of times I find myself putting in lots of extra effort for others because I am a people pleaser. I will do things for people without expecting anything in return, and often I can go above and beyond for someone, and in the end, it ends up pointless. I like that this haiku was able to capture that feeling of effort towards something, but also disappointment when everything you worked for no longer exists. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


red stoplight 
rock paper scissors 
with a cute stranger

Cami Jones

I like this haiku because it just feels like a very sweet and innocent memory. This is never happened to me, but it feels like it’s straight out of the movie. When short interactions that are just pure, childlike happen in life with absolute strangers, a little bit of magic happens. The moment just floats alone in time, and it doesn’t affect the people involved too much. This just brought about a fun little image in my head. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023

I thought this haiku was really cute! It didn’t get picked to be read in class and also wasn’t one that I marked as a favorite, but I still like it a lot. The story is pretty plain and simple, but I think you could interpret the story in a multitude of ways. Maybe this is from a child’s perspective, and they look over in the car next to them and play rock paper scissors with another child or teenager they see when the cars are stopped. Possibly, this is a first date and the two are driving to their destination. They get to a stop light and one of them suggests a quick round of rock paper scissors for fun. The author thinks their date is cute, but they’re essentially a stranger because they don’t know them at all. Maybe this is two people driving, and for fun, when the author locks eyes with the person in the car next to them, decides to propose a round of rock paper scissors before the light turns green. I really like how I don’t know who the author is, so I can imagine all these different scenarios for the poem. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


pumpkin chai 
why is it 

Cami Jones

I liked this haiku simply because it was funny. I used to work at Starbucks, and sometimes the drinks are the craziest colors. This reminded me of being on shift and having people question me when the drink was a funny color. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023



soft autumn musk
you catch me
glimpsing at you

Tanner Essex (5)


talking with God
my brain cusses
I apologize

Tanner Essex (9)

I like this haiku because it is relatable. When people pray they tend to want to have a good impression on God and think they have to sound formal, but it really just needs to be a conversation from the heart about whatever you want to pray about. I don’t think God cares when we cuss, but seeing God as such a higher, all-powerful being makes you immediately not want to use any vulgarity in front of him. It’s like speaking to the President or your principal. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

I love this haiku because it talks about an internal experience. I know a lot of haiku describe nature or something with the senses that you can see or hear, but this is different and still a pretty universal experience. I like that the talking with God has reached a casual enough point and there is obviously a sort of comfortability where profanity slips out in conversation but the apologize is like a snap back into reality that God is this high being and it feels like cussing in front of a strict teacher.  It could also be taken in a way that this person is not used to or is new to praying so they’re just kind of saying whatever comes to mind including the occasional “shit”, trying to learn the way to do this. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


farted in the elevator
get off on the next floor
I’m not sorry

Tanner Essex (4)

This is one of my very favorite haiku because it brings a smile to my face. It’s silly and light-hearted and fun, and I think it’s difficult to achieve a level of comedy that makes someone laugh out loud in a poem, especially in one that is this short. I love how much of a human experience it is, and how it just details a small facet of life, like farts, for example. It’s funny to think of someone farting on the elevator and then pretending like it wasn’t them, only to get off on the next floor knowing that everyone else stuck on the elevator is trapped in there with the stench. It seems so evil and mean, but is also very harmless. Almost like a small prank or April Fool's trick. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


sitting on the subway 
but really just a speck 
on a floating rock


kitchen dishes
hearty discussion
giggling girls

Eden Niebrugge (8)


let’s fall in love 
to piss off 
our parents

Eden Niebrugge (14)

Makes me think of rebellious teenage years, stories like that were always on Disney Channel. Sean House, Fall 2023


autumn’s reds,
and you

Eden Niebrugge (14)


smelling my old perfume
I turn nine years

Bella Birdsley (8)

Nostalgia is a powerful thing because we don’t get decide what it affects, it simply is. I have a reaction each time i go into a performance space where the smell of the room always sends me back to being in third grade stepping into my first theatre for rehearsal and the feeling of comfort that always surrounded me when I did. I like that feeling though that at any moment I can be swept away into a memory i could barely remember to forget and relive it like was yesterday for a fleeting moment. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


after a year
the petals unfurl
I bloom, again.

Leah Flint (6)

I really think this haiku does a good job at encapsulating self love and healing. The way that the word “unfurl” gives us this imagery of slowly starting to open yourself up again is really beautiful. It makes me think of the plants that die in the fall and winter, but bloom again in the spring. They just need a little time to come back, just like the way we need time to heal. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023



final goodbye
I throw away
your toothbrush

Leah Flint (9)

I LOVE this haiku because something so simple as a toothbrush can really sum up the depth of a relationship had. They kept one at your house because maybe they lived there or spent lots of time there and in a way, your house was becoming their house too. I love the simplicity of it and the object choice goes to show how the most mundane things often mean more. It really threw me off-guard by how accurate it is to a lot of modern-day relationships. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


warm memories
cooking dinner together
food got cold

Bella Birdsley (4)

Reminds me of how sometimes my friends and I will make dinner at their house, then get wasted and just hang out in the living room and by the time we get hungry and remember the food its cold. Sean House, Fall 2023


late night rehearsal
my mace
walks me back home

Bella Birdsley (3)


an intricate map
I plan my route
past his desk

Leah Flint (10)


right where
we left off
home from school


blonde and brunette
salty and sweet
a friendship that will last a lifetime

Kailyn Coates (5)

I like this haiku because it is just sweet. Since I am blonde, it makes me think of all my brunette friends in the close relationship that I have. When you read this, you immediately think of somebody specific. It allows you as a reader, to start connecting to the words and comparing contrasting the friendships, you have two the way the haiku describes them. Am I salty or am I sweet? Are blondes always salty and are brunettes always sweet? Or is it the other way around? The options allow the reader to pick and choose what they want to apply in their own imaginations. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


whisper to me
a lie
that haunts me

Elijah Jamison

This haiku feels special to me in that way a sweet nothing feels special – in the moment, it’s charged, and rushed in the throes of passion, and one small throwaway can feel like everything in the world and more… but then afterward you simply have to move on from it as though it didn’t happen because it was intended to be just that- nothing. Sweet nothings are said to help move Person A from Point A to Point B by Person B, and aren’t usually meant to hold any weight to them, but sometimes people can be caught up in that sweet little lie, and it can hurt them in the long run. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


she stamps the cigarette into me
               finally release

Elijah Jamison (7)


walking side by side
a breeze through my hand
your ghost

Elijah Jamison (6)


crisp air
swallows me whole
I pick up the old mitt


walking upstairs
hear a creak
is it Eve?

Mary Grace Gallagher (4)

The ghost in our sorority house is named Eve so this was a relatable haiku for me. I run up the stairs to bed every night because I have always been afraid of the dark and my mind imagines Eve running up behind me at night for some reason. Our house is very old so floors creak often, but when no one is moving and the floor still creaks it is very chilling. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


unable to stop
from falling

Mary Grace Gallagher

I like how I know that this is a love poem because of the prompts, but it could also be entirely not. Falling can often mean different things: falling in love, in despair, in depression, etc. It could also mean you’re falling into too many things, like work, hobbies, and school. You can’t help yourself from getting more. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023

I like that the word “myself” is by itself in a line because after reading the first line it could go anywhere and theoretically it could just be “unable to stop from falling” or something about how someone is unable to help you, but the “myself” on its own really amplifies the loneliness of it. I think it is also interesting how you could take it, obviously in a romantic way, but also in a physical way that there is no one there to help you when you need it most. Interesting and sad, but beautiful. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

There are so many haiku that I can relate to but this is by far one I relate to the most. I feel that once I fall for someone I can not stop myself and that is why I eventually end up getting hurt. This can be a good thing if the relationship is healthy, but for me at least it was not. I love the simplicity of this haiku. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023

This was a favorite haiku of mine that also was not read in class. It’s another one of those haiku that seems so simple at the surface level but could have multiple meanings behind it, which is something I really value in a haiku. At first glance, I attribute “falling” to falling for someone, and you can’t stop yourself from liking them even if you try. This could be positive, as in you are excited that you can’t help yourself from falling for this person, or negative, as in you wish that you didn’t like this person, or you know that they’re no good for you, and yet you still like them. This feeling could also be attributed to being stressed, overwhelmed, or dealing with something difficult in your life. The author may have a lot going on, or there is a great struggle happening in their life. They know they can’t stop themselves from getting sad about it or having it affect their daily life, or send them spiraling into anxiety or depression. They are unable to stop themself from what is to come due to the events happening in their life. I love a double meaning! Leah Flint, Fall 2023


effortless connection
feels right
ends just as quick

Mary Grace Gallagher (5)


an empty glass
the sad truth

Sean House (5)


an empty city
feels full
with you


where have you been
been looking
all my life

Sean House (5)


love in your words
hate in your actions

Madelyn Letourneau (5)


balcony on a warm night
chills on my skin

Madelyn Letourneau

The conflict of the exterior world and the inner self is what drew me to this haiku. It reminds me of the feeling of everything going just right from the perspective of an onlooker to the point things look perfect, you may even for second fool yourself into thinking it is so. However your body tells a different story, one you don’t want to face or have faced to may times to count. So all you can do is sigh into the chill of your body while attempting to suck in the warmth of the world, till there’s nothing left. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023

This makes me think of freshman year and the struggles of being on my own for the first time. Making friends can be hard and being okay with being alone was always a struggle. The way the author wrote about chills on skin makes me think of the anxiety that riddled my body when I was alone with my thoughts. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


falling into you
when i’ve already learned
not to trip

Madelyn Letourneau (10)

I like this haiku, because the first line could go either way with the emotions. It could be positive and turn into a happy ending or it could be negative. The second and third line. Just remind me that it is really easy to tell yourself you will not make mistakes over and over, but sometimes in the moment it’s Self the mistake is the easier and more exciting choice. I like this haiku is clever and uses metaphors, but it’s also extremely relatable. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


love defeats
the eldritch giant
we log off for the night

Kaia Garbacz (4)


five handprints
on the bare wall
too high up . . .


pencil-drawn hearts
sweaty love note
my name spelled wrong

Kaia Garbacz (4)


in an unkempt lawn
mail overfilled


bamboo leaf
a new phase


mailbox empty
everyone disperses
nothing for me.

Eden Niebrugge (4)


figure in the hallway
my breath escapes
before i can

Maddie Alger

I love the creepy ghost ones. I love the thought that this one didn’t end and there was a lot more to the story or that it ended abruptly because they couldn’t escape in time. I think the idea of using the phrase my breath escapes in addition to the thought of a person escaping was incredibly clever and I think this is one of my favorite ones from kukai. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

I love this haiku so much. It leaves so much up to the imagination and possesses just the right twinge of horror or suspense that would be appropriate for Halloween and the chill in the air that one would expect for the season. Is this person seeing some terrible, wretched thing? Are they in their home and they see someone who is not meant to be there? Or is this something less horrific, but no less breath catching- maybe someone sees their crush and they freeze up because they don’t know how to react? Or it’s a teacher and they’re doing something against the rules and don’t wish to get caught? Maybe a child has snuck out and doesn’t anticipate their parent to be awake in the hall as they try to leave? Who knows, and that’s the beauty of it- because you don’t. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


lonely Sunday night
i remember the way he said
i love you

Maddie Alger

This haiku… it’s sad, and isolating, and heavily reminds me of a girl who was desperate for any scrap of love that she would stay in a situation that wasn’t good for her and prevented her from spreading her wings and being who she really is. It takes me back to when I was in high school, and I was involved with a boy at the time who was very…reserved, we’ll say, with his affections. I can so vividly place myself in my senior year of high school, waiting around at home for him to text or call or snap or just reach out to me outside of a school setting, and I would greedily hold onto the moments where he would say he loved me because they were so few and far between. Heartbreaking, and real. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


wearing your sweatpants
to feel the warmth
that once was you

Maddie Alger (7)


whistling wind 
a feeling 
I can't escape 

Elly Hermanson

This one reminded me of the newest Puss In Boots movie where he's getting chased by Death itself, and anytime Death shows up everything seems to quiet down and all you hear is the whistling coming from all directions. Sean House, Fall 2023


baby powder on her back
doing my part
to help out


first one to rehearsal 
the light stands alone 
in the dark

Cami Jones (4)


walk onto a elevator 
full of people 
I sort of know 

Cami Jones (7)

This haiku reminds me of any time I’ve been on the Shilling elevator. I always find myself taking the elevator with a similar group of people, who I don’t really know, but see a couple times a week. I start to learn their faces and names even, but never truly get to know them. I think this haiku does a great job of describing this common experience. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023



a very crowded room
I must take up 
no space

Cami Jones (7)

This haiku highlights the female experience. As women we are taught to not stand out throughout our childhood and this idea is carried on into college and early adulthood. Society is trying to grow away from the idea of women having to be meek and quiet in social settings, but sometimes it is honestly easier as a woman to not contradict that idea. It seems silly to try not to take up any space in an already crowded room, but it makes sense when you add in the context of the speaker. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


tearing me apart 
text I read  

Elly Hermanson

This haiku is so simple yet so heartbreaking. I think that the wording is very well thought out and gives you an exact picture of what is happening. I can imagine some type of fight between a couple undolfing. The disasters that can come with young love. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023

This haiku is very heartbreaking to me. It reminds me of going through a bad breakup (friendship, or relationship), losing a loved one, or even just childhood nostalgia. I can imagine that you are going back through texts of you and a loved one who is no longer present. The memories of happiness that come through the old messages, but also the current sense of sadness, or missing something because whatever was there at one point no longer is. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


Open window
    lilac lilies 
        young girl.

Ny Scott (4)


took a detour
on the way to class
to hold your hand

Tanner Essex (4)


foot of your grave
with the wind

Tanner Essex (7)


tracing your smile 
in my mind 
to pass the time


hands combs through
tangled hair,
just girls bonding

Eden Niebrugge (6)


i’ve let go
yet you find your way 
to haunt me

Hannah Smith (5)

Sometimes you love something but you let it go so it can’t find you again. I think the saddest part of this haiku is the fact that the subject has tried to escape for the better yet all they did was get transferred into a different prison. So why try at all? I think they wish they had this same affect on the other person but know it won’t be the case, so a weight is put on them that they have to be the only one to shoulder this one sided relationship. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


pressing on paper
harder and harder until—
the pencil lead snaps


the weight of the gavel
settles on my shoulders
my name in gold

Sky Choe (5)


on the back of his test
a drawing
he will never finish


in the hall
alone . . . or so I thought

Kailyn Coates

As I said, I really like these creepy ones. I find that they can perfectly take me to one specific feeling and actually creep me out. Instead of just understanding the feeling, I actually feel it. Cami Jones, Fall 2023

I like this haiku. It was relatable to me. I’m not sure who wrote this but it’s cool but also interesting. Ny’Shara Scott, Fall 2023


he once was
the king
of my heart


he left so quickly
thanking God
I never would’ve left first

Grace Brixa (10)


building an igloo
to impress
the school bus kids

Kaia Garbacz

We didn’t talk about this one in class, but I really enjoyed it! When you’re little, you want to impress the older kids. When you’re old, you want to impress younger kids. It’s all about who you want to be and reflect on, and I think that’s why teenagers are often labeled as “confused” because we’re the in-between. Do we want to be old or young? Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


one car
in the parking lot
steamy handprints

Kaia Garbacz (5)


sorority house kitchen
the girl who lights
my heart's stove

Kaia Garbacz (7)

I like the conceit throughout this poem and how the theme of the setting, the kitchen, is kept when describing the feelings toward this girl. Instead of just saying she “she makes my heart warm” I love the imagery and the clever wording to substitute your heart for a “stove” to “light” to match the rest of the haiku. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


red paint on denim
hope that

Kaia Garbacz (4)


locked in the kennel
whining to be let out
we play house


batting her eyes
she asks for my . . .

Leah Flint (4)

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