A pregnant moon rises above the bay, illuminating limestone islands. My boat weaves in and out of the rock outcrops. You must be here somewhere. You must be. A white light from a tiny cave attracts my attention.
You’re still wearing the blood-stained kimono, hair lank and bedraggled. Limp hands hang from sleeves embroidered with butterflies. With a slow movement of your left arm, you point across the bay to the largest island. Following this direction, I moor my boat by the cliffs. In the clearing at the top of the steps, a full moon party materialises.
a kneeling soldier
draws his tantō
The young samurai sacrifices his lover on the shogun’s instruction. Her death is mercifully quick, the blade thrust deep. Head bowed, the warrior is quickly beheaded before the scene vanishes. In the half light, I notice a stone in the glade. Clawing at the dirt around it, my hand caresses something cold.
into the limestone
Rising from the soil, your face is obscured by lank, black hair. My search has ended; tonight will be our last.
Dr Tim Gardiner is an ecologist, poet and children's author from Manningtree in Essex, UK. His haiku have been published in literary magazines including Frogpond, Modern Haiku and The Heron's Nest. His first collection of haiku, On the Edge, was published in 2017. Tim's debut children's book, The Voyage of the Queen Bee, was published by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in 2016.