I light a cigarette in the dark inside my camper while the wind blows fiercely through the hills and its stars. “Koyaanisqatsi,” I say to myself. It’s nearly four in the morning, but I can’t stop thinking about that old native woman with no indoor plumbing who had an eagle feather dangling from a crucifix on her kitchen wall. She said that when the Lord comes back, she will give him that feather and a bowl of corn soup, and maybe then Mother Earth’s tumors will go back to being butterflies, and she and her people can be people again. I don’t remember if she said anything else.
I swallow the crack
—Haibun is reproduced here with author’s permission from Senryu
Circle (Facebook: 3 June 2020).
was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is a father, chef, zamboni
operator, and writer. His essays, short fiction, and poetry have been published in
journals and anthologies such as Beyond Forgetting (Kent State University
Press, 2008), In the Arms of Words (Sherman Asher Publishing, 2005),
Blood Lotus, Contemporary Haibun Online, Drifting Sands, Dunes Review, Eclectica,
Failed Haiku, Frogpond, McQueen’s Quinterly, Modern Haiku, Red River Review
and Smokebox among others.
He is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Cigarette Butts and
Lilacs (Modern English Tanka Press, 2008), and a chapbook, The Pie in Pieces:
Thirty-three Songs from the Midwest (River Man Publishing, 2006).
In 2011, his essay “The Myths of Manhood” was published in a collection
of essays for National Public Radio, This I Believe: On Fatherhood
(Jossey-Bass, John Wiley & Sons), and in 2012 was featured on Public Radio
International’s Bob Edwards Show. Riutta received the 2008 William J. Shaw
Memorial Prize for Poetry; and in 2007 he won Honorable Mention in the Michigan Liberal
Arts poetry contest (for his poem “Recruitment”).