for the evening milking
no one home
but me… too young
to even light the lamp
© Julie Thorndyke
100 Tanka by 100 Poets of Australia and New Zealand, 2013
(cover by Ron Moss, reproduced with permission)
also Carving Granite 2011, Eucalypt 9 2010.
Like most tanka, this comes from an actual experience, but in this case not mine. My mother told me of a time in her childhood when she was alone on the dairy farm, waiting anxiously for her delayed parents to come home. The cows, waiting to be milked, darkness falling…and with no electricity, without the comfort of light because she was forbidden to strike a match for fear of fire.