by Jeff Witkin and Michael Dylan Welch

First published in Jeff Witkin’s book, The Duck’s Wake (Potomac, Maryland: privately published, 1996), and then published in Frogpond XIX:1, May 1996, page 37. You can read a PDF version of The Duck’s Wake, including this rengay, on the Haiku Foundation website (see below for a scan of the rengay from this book). I believe the three rengay in this book may have been the very first rengay to appear in a book publication, other than those in my own rengay book, Hammerhorn Lake, published in 1995. Written 31 March to 20 April 1995, via email between Potomac, Maryland and Foster City, California.


touching the wind-worn name

of her son Jeff

wafted by the breeze . . .

sprinkler spray Michael

a prayer in the rain

and then another

blossom from the plum Jeff

a rusted bucket

by the groundskeeper’s shed

. . . a passing cloud Michael

pollen fills a rift

in the gravestone Jeff

birdsong fades

into the cherry’s scent . . .

she reaches for my hand Michael