Happy Haiku


by Tawanda Mulalu

Lost the will to live?
Dolphins swim further than parks.
Summer won’t winter.


Then make argument
for various creatures, their breaths
linger in grasses.


That I loved once was
clear as carbon monoxide.
Hey, I can’t see you—


Tomorrow there’ll be teeth.
A venus flytrap hickies me.
It’s better than porn.


—I wouldn’t know.
I’m already cicada.
Loud, useless throbs. Like grass.


Right ear’s still blocked. Spring
flutters to fall. Allergic,
I listen to new leaves.


Hold my ribs. There’s sky
and it continues. Despite
mind, I live. There’s sky.


The rain surprises.
And the window surprises.
Now think of the sun—


About the Author

Tawanda Mulalu was born in Gaborone, Botswana. He is the author of Nearness (The New Delta Review, 2022) and Please make me pretty, I don’t want to die (Princeton University Press, 2022). His poems appear or are forthcoming in Brittle Paper, Lana Turner, Lolwe, The New England Review, The Paris Review, A Public Space and elsewhere. He mains Ken in Street Fighter.

Text Details

“Happy Haiku” was first published in Hobart After Dark. Excerpted from PLEASE MAKE ME PRETTY I DON’T WANT TO DIE by Tawanda Mulalu. Copyright © 2022. Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

Post Image

Detail from Nick Dunn: Play Time at Dusk, Fraser Island, QLD, Australia (Unsplash).

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