Haiku Kukai 10 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023


community garden
uncarved pumpkins

Kaia Garbacz

This haiku starts out joyous, highlighting the first word “community” in the first line. It goes on to describe the pumpkins grown in the garden, meant for this community that desperately needs these resources. And then, the last line, finally makes the poem make sense. I know why I’m reading it by the end, and I’m disappointed that this has happened. Overall, this is very well-written! Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


two father ducks
lead their babies
golf-pond water

Kaia Garbacz (4)


ups and downs
playground ball


in the studio
I relive when Past Me
stuck that landing


addressed and stamped
a love letter travels
to the junk drawer

Skylyr Choe (9)

This haiku is so perfect in displaying all the things we want to say but its too late or we are too scared to. I love how the addressed and stamped can be interpreted like it was going to be sent but you change your mind and chicken out or it can be addressed to the junk drawer destined to never be seen even as it was being written. I also love how junk drawer is in the last line and adds a very nice twist you don’t expect with the first two. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

I didn’t get to speak about this haiku in class today, but this was definitely a favorite! This haiku reminds me of unrequited love or a scenario where you like someone but can’t work up the courage to tell them. It feels like the author finally has everything prepared to confess their feelings, but they chicken out and change their mind as they're about to. The letter traveling to the junk drawer makes me think that they are pushing their feelings down or trying to get rid of them because they can’t imagine ever telling this person how they feel. It’s a very sweet but sad haiku. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


rehearsal tracks echo
as I finish

Skylyr Choe (5)


a practicing soprano
sirens down the street
the ambulance


the pedal tone
climbing up the stairs

Bella Birdsley (4)


bristles humming
one note for two minutes
serenading my teeth


I live right next to the road
why can't
I hear cars


seeing a lake . . .
a ripple touch
shattered glass


I'm hungry


I grin and bear it
wishing it were me


This one immediately caught my eye when rereading these haiku, and I am surprised no one brought it up during class. I think this is such a beautiful bittersweet haiku. It makes me feel bad for the person, but happy for the other people. Congratulations is such an exciting word because it means something wonderful has happened or is going to happen to someone you love, but it also can be painful to be on the other side seeing others succeed and feel like you aren’t. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


last pill
in the package
        hormonal hell.

Leah Flint (7)


health nut
he cracks his tooth
on an almond

Leah Flint (15)


everywhere I look
a reminder
of us


mom's arms around
my shoulders

Madelyn Letourneau (8)


in the mirror
practicing smiles
eyes still dark

Madelyn Letourneau

I’m surprised no one talked about this haiku in class. I don’t often practice my smiles in the mirror, but I do look at myself quite a bit because my appearance is one aspect of my life that I’m able to control. I do practice smiles before I get my picture taken though, and sometimes I can’t seem to get it right. I always have to ensure the corners of my eyes are turned or pinched so that my smile looks real, even though I’m posing. I think what the author is saying in this haiku is that they are faking a smile, trying to make it through so that no one sees that they’re struggling, but they can tell that it’s not cutting it, because the pain they are going through still shows in their eyes. Leah Flint, Fall 2023

The way I have interpreted this, someone is trying to figure out how to sound congratulatory or excited for someone when they have succeeded or received something that that person wanted without sounding like they don’t mean it or are jealous, and are practicing in the mirror expressions that look genuinely happy or in good spirits for the other person, but they can’t quite get their face to look right. There is an intense jealousy there, even if they don’t want to feel it, and they want to be supportive because they know it’s a really great opportunity for that person, but you can’t help but think “why not me?” when you keep thinking about it. Which, for the record, is so relatable. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


savory bagel order 
time to do homework 
in bite-sized pieces 

Hannah Smith (7)


charcoal clouds
forgot my 

Hannah Smith

The imagery in this haiku is very vivid. I can almost smell the thick air, the darkness on the street, and the panic in this person. As someone who carries my umbrella everywhere, I can only partially understand the risk of not taking your umbrella, but this poem helps me comprehend that more. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


squirrels playing freeze tag 
up the tree
who will win?

Hannah Smith (7)


valedictorian achieved
the brain filled
with gummy worms

Anna Quick

I really like this haiku because it reminds me of my dad. Whenever I was working on something, whether that was homework, piano lessons, or softball, he would always bring me gunny worms as a little gift/as encouragement for me working hard. I had so many gummy worms in high school and even middle school that there is no way that is not all my brain is made of. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


a roadmap of ingredients
on mom’s apron


setting up
the dinner table
one less plate

Anna Quick (11)


long blonde hair —
she buys scissors, 
a curler, and some dye


coffee or tea?
whatever you’ll
drink with me

Eden Niebrugge (9)

I like this haiku because it is adorable, and because it rhymes. As a people pleaser and someone that simply likes spending time with people, this haiku really hits home. I am someone that doesn’t care what we do, where we do it, or what it involves. If I’m having fun, I’m okay, and I think this is a cute little way of saying that. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


half empty or
half full?
pour some more

Eden Niebrugge (6)


can’t sleep 
a familiar song 
on repeat

Cami Jones (7)


dance when no one
is watching 
a two way mirror


empty evening 
in the graveyard a bell rings
from the newest grave

Cami Jones (9)


orange aural spread
rock of salt
lights my room

Tanner Essex (5)


third row of your funeral
your mother walks in
I break

Tanner Essex

This was another favorite of mine that no one talked about in class. It’s a much more somber poem than many of the others, but it really spoke to me. I like the specifics in the first line of the author being in the third row at the funeral, and wonder what the significance might be to that. I imagine that the author is trying to keep it together at the funeral, and is having a hard time, but managing. Seeing the person’s mother walk in, though, causes them to let their tears out. Maybe the mother is crying and it gets to them, or they have a close relationship with the mother and know how much pain she is in. Maybe it’s the fact that seeing this person’s mom makes it real. We don’t know why seeing the person’s mother makes the author upset, but I like that about the poem. Leah Flint, Fall 2023


last beams of evening
a record spins
catching the glisten


bottom of the laundry basket
your pajama pants
still keep me warm


honeymoon phase
reliving the firsts
my alarm goes off

Maddie Alger (4)


middle of rehearsal
disrupts my thoughts


simple clothes
cross on her neck
back with nana


in snow
I’m not used to this


canopy of leaves
by your footsteps


spot light in a dark room
girls huddle up
for the end of a week


smile lines
her shadow shining
from the window


four best friends
surprise you with . . .
a Christmas card

Grace Brixa (4)


my bones broke
my blood boiled
your touch


you left me in

Elijah Jamison (14)


dropped feathers
the boy


dark night 
taking over 
all the thoughts

Elly Hermanson (5)


winter snow 
summer beach 


breeze blowing 
as cars wizz by
just one more minute

Elly Hermanson

I imagine someone is experiencing thoughts of harming themself or has contemplated ending their life and is waiting atop or alongside a bridge or busy highway as they finally take in what they know to be their last moments. There is a certain peace within this haiku that is eerily reminiscent to the thoughts and temperament of someone who has made up their mind amidst a cloud of suicidal ideation and desperation, but wants to take in one more moment with their pain before they rid themself of it permanently. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


falling leaves 
another year passes 
without you 

Kailyn Coates (4)


seeing you grow up
mom’s Facebook

Kailyn Coates (12)


familiar dark hallway 
I remember 
the hurtful words

Kailyn Coates (8)


a plethora of triangles
build the wall
kaleidoscope vision


Costco meat locker
dead or asleep
who knows

Bella Birdsley (5)


worn soles
tired tied laces
putting myself in their shoes

Bella Birdsley (9)


worming inside
pull the skin over
to keep warm

Skylyr Choe (4)


gnarled tree limb
beckoning lost souls
into the mist


peppering necrotic skin
the delicate stench
of rot


before bedtime
my grandma kisses my grandpa
on her nightstand

Maddie Alger (11)

Similar to the last haiku, they are almost the same format of the first two lines being sweet and about love and the third line, an unexpected twist that makes the whole thing a more bittersweet tone. You realize in this one, the grandma is a widow just kissing a picture of him. This also struck a chord in me because whenever my first dog died, I did this almost every night. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


rain pouring down
washed you away
I am finally clean



should equal two
but where are you?


laughter echos 
everyone looks around
her mic was on


have to make 
life changing decisions 
Ii’ll call my mom

Cami Jones (8)


confetti under a couch cushion 
it's been 
8 months

Cami Jones (7)


no mushrooms yet—
a fallen


fingernail snags 
on my favorite sweater 

Hannah Smith (11)


at odds with nature,
using the bathroom
on a canoe trip


boring lecture 
counting the moles 
on her face

Hannah Smith (5)


cartoon adult
sounds of  
a trombone

Hannah Smith (5)


unmade bed
his wrinkled blanket
freshly washed

Kaia Garbacz (6)


teeth chattering
playing the fuck
out of Tetris


someone's cat
but surely not mine
clay paw prints

Kaia Garbacz (5)


mushrooms on
a rotting tree
the joy of eating one

Eden Niebrugge (4)


from across the room
the texture
of her sweater

Leah Flint

I wanted to mention this one in class, but we ran out of time. My love for sweaters is real, and they’re the reason winter/fall are my favorite seasons. I often find myself admiring people’s sweaters, particularly the textures since there’s such a variety of patterns and designs. Each person has their own particular sweater that you see them in, and just know that it suits them. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


wilted in the trash 
he asks why I bother
with flowers

Leah Flint (7)


maybe her poetry
would be better
if she let loose
every once
in a while

Leah Flint (4)


almond cinnamon rolls
fill the room
new wax melt

Madelyn Letourneau (5)


late night hike
a face
in the trees

Madelyn Letourneau (3)


American Girl Doll lookalike
my “fake”


smart guy
finishes his homework
domino effect

Anna Quick

I liked this one a lot because it reminded me of middle school and highschool when someone would turn in their test first and then everyone else seemed to follow. When I would finish first, I would wait sometimes until someone else turned theirs in first and then the rest of us minus like two people followed. Sometimes though, you would be the last one and everyone getting up seemed like the most stressful coincidence ever. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


her shoulders
as she types into oblivion

Anna Quick

I love this one because it is basically what I am doing right now. I am on break at home, but I am typing to finish my homework before I have plans and before all of my family gets into town. I also think it is an incredibly relatable experience to all college students because no matter what major, you will always have things to write or analyze, so we will all at some point or another be pushing out an assignment. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


in front of each other,
isn't that love?

Anna Quick (5)


chopping off my hair
to trim
who I used to be

Maddie Alger (9)


rose colored glasses
in the driveway
sh  at t er  ed

Maddie Alger (7)


silent roommates
tests tomorrow
click click click

Maddie Alger
I love the way that this haiku so clearly conjures the imagery of a pen clicking in silence. It’s such a crisp sound that I feel most people have heard or experienced (be it in a classroom or testing setting, or otherwise). I am unfortunately guilty of being a pen-clicker, which I know gets on a lot of people’s nerves when it becomes persistent enough a sound in an otherwise quiet room, but it helps to keep me focused or recenter my attention when I’m working (I also like that it annoys people, and I am nothing if not secretly a menace). Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


21st birthday
asking Google about
anti-aging skincare

Leah Flint (10)


day break
rolling over
to the empty spot


video call with mom 
I tell her
I feel older than I am

Leah Flint (11)


laughter echos 
from the window 
a nap interrupted


put down last night
the cat
caught her tongue

Randy Brooks (4)

I love the play on the phrase “cat got your tongue”. I said this in class but if the animal “put down last night” I thought it might be clever to say “caught her own tongue” to describe how usually quiet the animal is when dead. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


first fall of snow
I concentrate
on the silence

Tanner Essex (7)


what the hell
is that droning noise
the fridge

Sean House (3)


stuck in a silent scream
lick the blood
from her teeth

Skylyr Choe (7)


lifeless eyes drift
to the digital clock
another academic alert


Thursday mirror
my lipstick
slightly higher in the corners

Elijah Jamison (7)


fishing line
silent even when
I feel a bite

Grace Brixa (8)


I left every door open
for you to feel
a breeze

Elijah Jamison (11)

I like this haiku because I think it is a good encapsulation of putting in so much effort and not having it be noticed. I will go above and beyond for someone, and sometimes people just don’t recognize the work that you put in. It sucks, and I think this was a good little analogy for the feeling of doing so much, or even so little, and having it go unnoticed. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


fresh cut lawn
sprinklers and giggles
fill the air


shallow sigh the closeness of a rising moon

Grace Brixa (4)


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