Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Winter 2007, vol 5 no 4


A Helping Hand
Richard Straw


As I lie back on the worn hall carpet, everything familiar is topsy-turvy. I imagine slipping over the doorframe between the living and dining rooms and not having to go above my knees to peek through the gap in the curtains. The upside-down bakery and fruit stand across the street are locked in late afternoon shadows between the elms, whose tops are rooted in the darkening sky. I wiggle head first around the unlit chandelier, which sticks like a turtle shell to the center of the living room ceiling. And I peer past my ear into the black air register from which, as if quaking in my bedroom on the other side, Fay Wray screams and screams and screams as she's carried into the jungle by King Kong.

hand outstretched
dad stands over me
long summer night


Richard S. Straw Richard S. Straw copyedits technical documents and prepares bibliographic databases on health and substance use. He has lived in or near Raleigh, North Carolina, since 1984. Before then, he lived in central Ohio, where he taught freshman English composition at Ohio State University, edited technical papers for a trade journal, proofread for a digest of news from the former Soviet Union, and graduated from Ohio State University (BA in English, 1977; MA in English, 1980).

He has collected and read books of haiku, senryu, haibun, and haiga since 1966. In the late 1980s, he served as an editor of Pine Needles, a quarterly newsletter for the North Carolina Haiku Society (NCHS). He self-published A Hiker Sees His Shadow (2001), an eight-page chapbook dedicated to the memory of his dad. Selections of his published haiku are available at, courtesy of Dave Russo of the NCHS. Along with other NCHS members, he attends monthly haiku meetings, ginkos, and the annual NCHS Haiku Holiday.