“Fractures” is a slip of a book featuring 27 haiku-inspired poems from author and Japan Times contributor Iain Maloney.
It is of course possible to blitz through quickly, but consider this: While each poem can stand independently, taken together, they cover both an emotional and physical journey that spans an entire year and at least two countries.
People share memories using all types of social media that momentarily transport friends and loved ones into our individual worlds — it’s arguable that “Fractures” functions similarly, but where torrents of social media can amount to “oversharing,” this collection is rich with the unsaid. Where some use Snapchat and Facebook, Maloney chronicles in verse.
There’s a fair amount of standard haiku imagery: cranes make an appearance and the haiku poet Mukai Kyorai is referenced. The reader is challenged to understand how these moments factor into what can be read as a larger story.
We’re given cinematic snatches of a love realized that cycles with the seasons into the pain of heartbreak. Minute observations quietly show that amid life-changing events, there are details that, for whatever reason, remain with us: “the slant of sunlight/ as we touch/ it ends like this”.
Everything is ultimately bound by Maloney’s mention of kintsugi, the art of reassembling broken pottery: “the lines of fracture filled with gold” and the hopeful suggestion that our difficult memories are as valuable as our happiest. (Dana Macalanda)