Issue 31: Kenny Tanemura


Afternoons when light 

filters through the closed blinds,

my infant son: Rome, for example, 


a greasy plate of poutine

rubs off on your fingers.

A walk to the apartment lobby


that shines like a palace

before turning into a half-opened closet 

of wrinkled shirts.


My father wore blocks of navy

with green lines passing through it.

On a train, blinds closed to keep the Japanese


from tracking the arid dirt land

in a foggy city.

Photography over painting. 


Behind barbed wire, caught in

a song on the radio,

reading about the war in the papers.


A bat striking a ball.

Clean this barrack up,

can’t you see the dust balls?






The star in the lamp flowers

as the orchestration

pops again. Her hat crows,


each brick of the church

in a face, with its doors and potted plants.

The eye knows the lines of the moon


coalesces into light on water

broken by the color in a man’s eyes,

the slanting curves    


in a name written by hand.

A fly’s wings see yellow in everything,

seed, rain, orange, black.


A page turns silk in candlelight,

vapors form a bird’s beak.

The tines of a pitchfork


warily watches the windmill,

the boulevard, a glass of beer.

The woman in a jar


becomes snow,

scrapes on a chair’s legs.

White pillowcases move the branches.


The heat, the sky still white.

The cobblestones go there to feel

like they’ve been somewhere.





Halfway up  

a snowy mountain,

far ahead, jumped on the tracks. 


Wended to this country 

of sub-tropical heat. 

The snow mounted on the balcony,  


the snow of last year.  

Buried under the ground, 

there are pages,


traces of lavender  

or jasmine, no one

sees the change. 




Last Light


The power adapter lost,

a photo album from before his birth

holds pictures snapped after V-E Day.


The album where his father throws a football

in his leather helmet.

The arm cocked back to toss a dart.


Jumped to see over the heads 

of the defensive line, to see the field

in this album. The stack of books


on the floor.

Proust in blue hardcover, 

Virginia Woolf splayed open,


underlined with lead.

A pencil tip lifts from the page.

Her husband has erased


their infant son asleep on his chest. 

A thousand-page novel,

between the slats, the night sky.


Last light 

remains unopened again on the shelf.

The baby exhales through sleep, 


his barely developed nose.

The spines face him squarely

when he rests.

Kenneth Tanemura teaches writing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Copyright © 2023 by Kenneth Tanemura, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author