Dave Read


With our cells
replacing themselves
every seven years,
at forty-nine
I have completed
the seventh generation
of the molecular
arrangement me.

that the Iroquois
made decisions
with seven future
generations in mind,

I wonder
what conclusions
from my cellular past
contributed to
this me-generation,

but also when
I should gather
my cells in conference,
start planning

in preparation for
my fourteenth
turning ninety-eight.


Had they been asked,
my predecessor me's,
how they’d want
to return
in a subsequent life

would this
have been their answer? Or would
they view me
as karmic retribution

for the deeds
they didn’t see as sin?

Perhaps they gave
the whole affair
no thought — steeped
in the struggles
of their ordinary lives.

But with no residual
memory remaining,
I don’t know
if they’re happy
with how
we turned out.

Dave Read is a Canadian poet living in Calgary. He was a recipient of the 2016 Touchstone Individual Poem Award for haiku, as granted by The Haiku Foundation. His work has been published in many journals (including Otata, Presence, Modern Haiku and Haiku Canada Review), and anthologies (including New Resonance 11).
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