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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 7: March 2021
Tanka Tale: 129 words
By David C. Rice

Next Court Date in Six Months


she weaves penstemon
around four twigs
tosses her craft in the lake
such a small raft
for the climate storm

At the preliminary hearing, the Supreme Gaia council ordered everyone to reduce their carbon footprint thirty percent from pre-Covid levels. The defendants argued the order was draconian and unnecessary because, during the pandemic, by voluntarily sheltering-in place and limiting travel, we loosened the noose around the earth’s neck, watched the biosphere breathe again, and would never re-cinch.

The plaintiff’s lawyer demurred: the risk of green-to-smog recidivism is higher than a hawk’s flight. Without the order, we’ll re-attach the jesses and rein in the young peoples’ hopes again.

high Sierra
granddaughter on my lap
we watch the alpenglow
her climate inheritance
clouds my view

David C. Rice
Issue 7, March 2021

served as editor of the Tanka Society of America’s triannual journal, Ribbons, from 2012-2019, and has been writing tanka for 30 years. He is the author of The Grandfather Poems (tanka sequences, 2016) and Pilgrim on the John Muir Trail (tanka verse, 2019). He is co-author with Lynne Leach of Lighting a Lamp: 20 Years of Tanka Conversations (2017). His responsive tanka collaboration with Autumn Noelle Hall, Tanka Quartets (four-verse sequences), was published in August 2020.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Lost Bird: Reward, tanka prose by David C. Rice in MacQ-2 (March 2020)

Learning My Part, tanka sequence plus Author’s commentary in Issue 6 of KYSO Flash (Fall 2016)

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