Thanksgiving - Haiku Kukai 11 Favorites

Global Haiku • Millikin University • Fall 2023


trying to play
too small


thanksgiving break
lots of time to


home sweet home
my room
. . . is green?

Madelyn Letourneau (6)


after all that work
so damn messy

Sean House (8)

I loved this haiku! It is so relatable and makes me feel that what I am experiencing in life is somewhat normal. The simplicity of this haiku is amazing and speaks volumes. No matter how hard you want something to go right sometimes it just does not work out the way you wanted it to. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023

It’s the tired cycle of trying to improve yet you can only come up short. It then sends you to just spiral until you can’t anymore. I enjoy this haiku in particular when speaking of the work/life separation and how you have to work to have an enjoyable life but you need to enjoy your life to make work palatable. You end up however working nonstop just to support yourself but still it doesn’t seem to be enough. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


another cog
from the clock


breakfast date
sweet syrup
I wake up late


when mom and dad are
out of their hair
sisters talk

Leah Flint (6)


thanksgiving dinner
all about 
the pie


pile into the car
to see
the neighborhood lights

Leah Flint (6)

I like this haiku because it reminds me of my family. Once a year -- sometimes more than once -- we pile into the car and somehow end up driving around any and every neighborhood with Christmas lights. I think in my family it would not be Christmas without at least 10 neighborhoods of lights. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


Thanksgiving Dinner
potatoes salted
by my tears

Kaia Garbacz (7)

I appreciate this haiku because sometimes on events people might miss family members or friends who have passed or maybe they are just overwhelmed by the guest and get emotional. Thanksgiving is a specific holiday that I feel like makes this haiku hurt more because this is the specific day you are supposed to be “thankful” for everything you have, but that is also when you realize these things aren’t always here and you miss there absence more. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023


baby in the bed
throws up
into dad's ear


cherry red nails 
diamond broach 
Nana’s home for the holidays 

Kailyn Coates (9)

NANA IS SUCH A BADASS!!! I love how this author chose such striking features to describe Nana. The red nails and the diamond broach prove that she is a classy, put together lady. But the final line shows that everyone knows who Nana is and they know she means business. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023

I really liked the image that this haiku created, almost like one from a movie. I really liked the commentary Tanner provided in class. He discussed this feeling fancy and if he were to have a living grandma this is what he would want her to look like. I thought that was sweet and funny, because it again creates a very specific image for the reader to then compare or connect to their life. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


dandelion seeds
do you really blame me 
for running away?

Kaia Garbacz (7)

I love the way this haiku uses imagery. The way that dandelion seeds blow away in the wind and are almost taken against their will really pairs well with the next two lines. It's almost like a toxic person has forced their hand in leaving in the same way dandelion seeds are forced to the wind. I think the way that these two different chunks of the haiku are different, yet so similar really makes it a strong haiku. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


I take a drive 
in silence 
just to feel something

Kailyn Coates (14)

Driving is a comforting thing for me (except for driving on Route 48 from Taylorville to Decatur every morning that part sucks). Just driving on country roads with no real destination used to be a thing I would do to relieve stress, but with how gas prices have been its not something that's been affordable to do. Sean House, Fall 2023

I love the mundane act of driving in this yet all the emotional baggage that comes with it. Whenever you do an act in purposeful silence there is an automatic weight put on it because the importance of the act is all that is able to sustain you. There is also the somber tone of being so void that even an act in silence could stir you. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


almost 20
kids table with
my name written on it 

Kailyn Coates (6)

I like this haiku because it reminds me of my cousins. We are all super close to each other, and act more like siblings. Every holiday we all still sit together, even though most of us are in college or of age to drink alcohol (pretty adult?). I think this was a fun way to say it. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023


cannot live
without you—
this teenage anger

Eden Niebrugge (4)

I really relate to this poem. I was a very irritable and angry teenager, for no particular reason, but being a teenager is hard! I struggled a lot with self-confidence and also just dealing with hormones. As a teenager, your emotions are all over the place and you don’t really know why you’re feeling the way you are, so it makes you more angry. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle and other people don’t understand it either which also institutes feelings of anger…. Like I said, vicious cycle! Leah Flint, Fall 2023


i take my parents
to the art museums and
we love ourselves again

Eden Niebrugge (6)


cleaning the whole house
sleeping in late


local downtown diner
two families, unrelated,
make memories

Eden Niebrugge (4)


a week off school
emailing professors 
confused on their homework 

Cami Jones (7)


first snow of the year! 
my coat 
left at school

Cami Jones (7)


our mouths full
mine with turkey
yours with politics

Bella Birdsley (9)
It is a canon event to have your family members start discussing politics on a holiday. I am the kind of person who does not like to argue about politics, especially on topics I am not super educated on, but I know some people just love to talk about politics, especially with people who don’t share the same views as them. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023


in the shooting stars
I see what remains
of your smile


clearing up phone storage
I delete the note:
“Future Baby Names”

Skylyr Choe (6)

I think this haiku is really clever. I think we all know the feeling of going through our phones to clear up storage and then finding something from a past relationship that sends us into a spiral of stalking or fixating. This haiku really reminds me of that. The act of writing down baby names with someone is so intimate and implies a close relationship and to delete that note really shows the relationship is done. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023

This haiku reminds me a bit of myself. I always thought I wanted kids when I was younger, and I do have a list of names I like on my phone, just in case I ever need them. I don’t feel like I’m old enough to really determine if I absolutely do not want kids, or if it’s just because I’m young and can’t imagine myself with kids. For a few years now, though, I’ve been pretty steadfast in the fact that I don’t think I want children, but who knows, maybe that could change as I get older! Leah Flint, Fall 2023


children at the park
I come home
to an empty apartment

Skylyr Choe (4)


true to your roots
you gave the world
an Irish goodbye

Bella Birdsley (15)

This haiku is definitely about someone who died out of the blue. I think it is very sad when you look deep into it, but it is somewhat lighthearted at first glance. I feel as though someone who commonly does Irish goodbyes doesn’t ever really stray from that, so it seems as though this was coincidentally on brand for this person. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

This one made my heart drop, it evokes so many emotions. I see this as someone dying without saying literally anything. Many times people remember their last words to someone, but in this haiku, I feel as if the last words were so . . . normal. There is nothing too memorable about it, no goodbye, and I think that plays in the Irish goodbye line. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

I like this haiku because of how clever the wording is. It reminds me of several people in my life that often pop up and then disappear, sometimes not for good reasons. I know a lot of people that tend to run away from problems and that is when they disappear. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

This is another haiku that I absolutely loved. Depending on how you take it, it can be dark. I am guilty of doing this myself but it reminded me of one of my closest friends. It is so creative and well-written. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


hum of espresso
through the kitchen
return to stasis

Bella Birdsley (6)



feeling less like home
every time I return

This one actually made me think of another game series I like called Yakuza/Like A Dragon. Throughout the series, which takes place over a few decades, you watch as the world and city of Kamaroucho changes around the protagonist Kiryu.  He becomes older and older and has to adapt to the new ways of life in the city he grew up in and spent most of his life in. Sean House, Fall 2023

This haiku is so relatable. As you change and grow at college, your hometown begins to feel so small and different from you. The places and things you used to do are closed down, and you increasingly hear about all the crime happening. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

I didn’t get to go home for this Thanksgiving break, but I feel this every time I do go home. You’ve built a whole new life at college, and so have all your hometown friends, and while you’re all happy to see each other, you can’t wait to get back to the lives you’re all building. It’s a bittersweet moment to realize that while home may not feel like home anymore, it is simply because a new place is becoming comfortable enough for it to feel like home. Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


banana bread
my favorite
Thanksgiving tradition

Maddie Alger (4)


liquored lips
spilling truths
not theirs

Elijah Jamison (8)

I love the alliteration in liquored lips, I feel like it rolls off the tongue really well and I like the use of the word “spilling” because it kind of continues the theme of drinks or “liquor” and creates a messier tone. This is not intentional gossip but being too intoxicated to keep your mouth shut about not even yourself but other people. This can be so relatable for family functions when the adults are kind of tipsy and sharing other people’s lore. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

This reminds me of my family and friends some times. When they begin to drink they open up about anything and everything even if they shouldn’t. It’s very relatable to my life and brings back many memories. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023


plaid pajama pants
warmed by the fire
and my dog against me

Maddie Alger (4)

This haiku is filled with all the best things. First of all, the best pajama pants are always plaid. I don’t make the rules. Second, sitting by the fire during one of your breaks off school quite possibly might be the most relaxing and comfortable thing you can do. And finally, having your dog laying next to you on the couch is the best feeling ever. Cuddling with my dog is my favorite thing to do when I go home, I hate to leave her side and honestly follow her around the house. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


you should smile more 
you should 
shut the fuck up

Hannah Smith (17)
This haiku embodies the female experience. We are often told to be nice to everyone and smile because that will make us liked and women have to try so much harder than men just to be respected. I’m sure this haiku was someone who went home and saw their family for the holidays and was told by an old person that they should smile more. Maddie Alger, Fall 2023

This one really resonated with both Thanksgiving, feelings about families, and feminine rage. As I mentioned in class, the several meanings make it an amazing haiku. I enjoyed seeing how it could be catcalling and men expecting women to be pretty and dolled up all the time. But it could also be the expectations families set on Gen Z—to always be social and polite. Overall, it’s very humorous while also a serious problem. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


sunset in her hair 
wild girlhood 

Hannah Smith (7)


i chopped the veggies
i boiled the meat
it doesn’t taste the same

Elijah Jamison (6)


a love
that rushes
red to pink

Elijah Jamison

Although this haiku seems vague at first, I think the use of colors in place of feelings is very interesting. Although the colors don’t necessarily explain what is going on or how this person is feeling in this love, the human experience and perception of it allows the reader to understand the emotions and feelings anyway. I think of this as a love that either started strong or maybe even harsh turns lighter and sweeter. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


velvet curtain rises 
sea of wide eyes
sit still

Hannah Smith

This haiku really puts me into the scene. We are seeing the beginning of a performance or play from the actors perspective. The audience waits in anticipation. I love how the watchers are described using only their eyes. You can feel the nervousness in this moment. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023

I love the imagery that, as a crowd hushes and the curtains rise for a show, there is such a joy and exhilaration of being in the audience. The show is going to be great, and you are so excited to be there, and as the action begins and you sit there wide-eyed at finally getting to see and experience this performance, you simply go slack and sit still in awe as the show goes on. I’m sure it can be interpreted as someone telling their kid to sit still during a show, but I preferred the more positive connotation. It was very sweet. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


walking by
how it used to be

Sean House (5)


Finally peaceful break 
     I can eat good food
grandma's famous sweet potato pie.



Ny Scott (5)

The first obvious thing that I noticed about this haiku was the way it was typed out on the page. I find the layout and spacing of it very interesting, and it drew my eye to it immediately. I was not sure exactly what it meant at first but it made me laugh a little bit. The word choice is interesting and are not words that are often used. Then, I thought it might have a sort of tie to being home for the holidays with an influx of creativity or a scramble of memories coming from a particular location/ time/ event. Grace Brixa, Fall 2023


boyfriend's father
at the bottom of the bottle


climbing down the fire escape
scared of the spark
you started

Bella Birdsley (5)

I love this haiku because it is taken so literally at first envisioning someone actually climbing down the fire escape. It could be in a fun running away/sneaking out way or in a scary literal way. The second line keeps the same train of thought, but the latter of the two; they are running from a fire. By the time you read the third line you are sure it is literally about someone escaping a fire, and of course this haiku works because it sort of is, but then it flips the whole thing on its head and makes it about a relationship of some kind. Beautifully written. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


pick the perfect tree 
turn on a Christmas movie
day after thanksgiving 


religious thanksgiving
a little boy sings
in latin


liminal space—
waiting for you
after that text

Eden Niebrugge (5)


one girl can’t change
the world!

but i can certainly try

Eden Niebrugge (9)


a familiar bed
mom hangs around

Madelyn Letourneau (5)

My mom has the habit of always wanting me around on breaks, mainly for the fact that when I’m home I’m working nonstop and don’t have time to spend with her so she’ll always scuttle into my room and and sit on the foot of my bed sometimes just wanting to be there in silence. I think she still bounces back and forth between wanting me to grow up and wanting her little boy. Elijah Jamison, Fall 2023


dead herb garden
our first kiss
one year ago

Kaia Garbacz (5)


baby's all nighter
two new teeth
to smile with

Kaia Garbacz (8)

I like the positive twist of this haiku. While the baby was not out partying on its “all-nighter”, it was probably crying all night, keeping up its parents as well. While I know that can so exhausting as a parent, you still love your baby and look for their wins, such as the growth of new teeth. Although that probably was painful, one day they will be seen every time they laugh and smile. Bella Birdsley, Fall 2023

I really enjoyed this haiku and the way it makes a miserable situation so wholesome and loving. A baby up all night means parents are up all night with a screaming, teething baby. I love the way the last line “to smile with” sort of makes up for all the fuss that occurred the previous night. I envision the parents seeing the two teeth and the babies smile and just absolutely melting. Hannah Smith, Fall 2023


haze of the days
tic-tac-toe with the calendar

Kaia Garbacz (5)


my c a.  ###  tttt
on my keyboard

Madelyn Letourneau (13)


left, right, up, down
two pairs of everything


family game night
middle sister
finally wins

Leah Flint (4)

I love my sister so much, but she has terrible luck. This reminds me of when my family used to have game nights, and my sister was always so competitive but never won. I feel as if this haiku embodies what a middle sibling feels like, they never win small petty games and are often forgotten. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

As a middle child and sister, I am very drawn to this. My grandparents play cards often when we see them, and there is one game that I won’t play because I don’t like it, but when I do play it, I always lose to my sister. No matter if I come in last or am leading the whole game, she always comes out on top and it makes me so mad because we are sisters, so of course I am going to be mad. Cami Jones, Fall 2023


and family 
pure happiness 
no where I’d rather be

Elly Hermanson

This haiku summarizes my Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people in college today don’t like to see their families or just don’t enjoy Thanksgiving, but it’s my second favorite holiday next to Christmas. I love getting together with my immediate family during the day, cooking in our PJs. Then, going to a friends-giving eating China King and filling in each other on how our lives are. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


constantly spending 
I don’t have

Elly Hermanson (12)

I like this haiku because it's funny and relatable. Mostly everyone knows what it's like to be broke in college, and if you don't you at least know the stereotype. I am constantly telling myself I will stop spending so much money and then I decided that I need a little sweet treat to get me through x, y, and z. It's a never-ending cycle. Madelyn Letourneau, Fall 2023

This one hit home for me a lot. Ever since college started the thousands of dollars I saved up while working at Wendy's during high school started to disappear, and even now when I have a job again, even though minimum wage has gone up, prices have gone up as well so everything is still just as if not more expensive, and my money drains away faster and faster. Sean House, Fall 2023

I very much relate to this haiku, as I too always spend money I don’t have. There were times I was bored over break and simply decided to buy a whole new wardrobe with whatever was leftover from the money I saved over break. I constantly go out to dinner with my friends with whatever I can scrape out of my checking account, hoping there is some left over for groceries. I always have the mindset that “the money will come back.” Tanner Essex, Fall 2023


grandma's banana bread
I think about

Leah Flint

Confession: sometimes, when I’m not busy and have time to sort out my thoughts, I begin to think like this. It’s comforting to know someone else does, especially relating a person’s age to their life span to the food they put in front of you. I truly think food is one of the most comforting things you can get/do for a person, and seeing it in this light is so sad but so true. Eden Niebrugge, Fall 2023


he cracks it into the pan
and watches it fry
— my heart

Leah Flint (8)

I love the plot twist in this haiku, with how the third line turns it from physical to metaphorical. It also subverts the subject and tone to a devastating heartbreak. I can feel the sadness that this person is experiencing. Kaia Garbacz, Fall 2023


echoes of laughter
weave in between trees 
we used to climb

Hannah Smith (5)


hiding my chest
under a baggy shirt
they’re none the wiser

Skylyr Choe (10)


only one who can
distract me from life
I won't let go


everyone feels the same

Kailyn Coates

I am so burnt out. This semester has been an absolute hell for me, and am just always thinking everyone else feels the same. But then I ask other people how they are doing this semester, and they are thriving. It makes me feel terrible when I compare my semesters with other people, but it’s okay, I know I am not completely alone though. This haiku hits me in the gut and makes me relive half of my semester though. Anna Quick, Fall 2023

I think we’re at the point of the semester where everyone is tired and simply wants to rest. This haiku was very telling of that feeling and summons within me the dragging exhaustion of someone who is taking on too many things at once and beginning to suffer the effects of those actions. This haiku feels tired and as to the point as possible, while also conveying a sense of gentle insecurity and expresses the fear of falling behind or being inconveniently unhelpful and unproductive, which is usually where I sit when I am feeling burnt out, and I appreciate the honesty in that tired bluntness. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


back at our place
but this time
without you

Maddie Alger

I like this haiku because I feel it is so relatable in so many different aspects in life. Life is always changing and so are the people in it. Between moving away, college, and just growing apart, new people are always entering your life as old ones are leaving it. Elly Hermanson, Fall 2023

This one is so melancholy, and I love the way it holds space to grieve this loss. I imagine someone is reminiscing about a relationship since passed, and they are finally working up the nerve to go there independently to make new memories and brave the hurt that still lingers at the thought of the person or people they are now without. It’s bittersweet, but showcases a sense of healing for the individual who is making the effort to return. Skylyr Choe, Fall 2023


licking whipped cream
off the nozzle
chasing that nitrous high

Skylyr Choe (8)


best friend's house
my home away
from home
away from

Madelyn Letourneau (8)

I always wanted a best friend when I was younger. It was something I was quite obsessed with, actually. I think I liked the idea of having a favorite friend, who also considered me their favorite friend. I didn’t have a lot of close friends when I was younger and can remember having 3 different best friends from elementary to middle school. In high school, I had some close friends who I thought could have been best friends to me, but they also had other best friends, so it didn’t feel as special. In all honesty, they weren’t really my people. I met my current best friend in my first year of community college, and we’re still thick as thieves! I always make time to see her over breaks, and she does feel like a home away from home to me. I met her as she was having a falling out with her old best friend, who didn’t treat her very well, so it seems I showed up at the right time. We’re very similar and treat each other well, and it’s a very nice feeling. Leah Flint, Fall 2023

As someone who spends more time at their friend's house than their own, I loved this haiku. It is not about the house or location, but the people inside it. I miss home often, I find it creative that they wrote so many lines into the end of this haiku. This makes me want to go and call my best friend. Kailyn Coates, Fall 2023


up all night
baking gluten free pumpkin pies
not a crumb left for me

Skylyr Choe (5)


at the end of the world
I’m glad it’s
with you

Skylyr Choe (5)


Thanksgiving shopping list
on a wild goose chase
for sweet potato puree

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