Lens (a haibun)
by Elizabeth Alford and Chase Gagnon

Would that I could see the beauty in the crumbling of remains of this city: in the broken windows and smoggy skylines eclipsing urban life; in traffic signs and bullet shells and train stations resembling cathedrals; in the graffitied walls of factories, or old men sleeping on the streets. Would that I could hold a camera so steadily; with your certainty, precision, integrity. Would that I could wait ’til the light is just right to capture moments both light and dark — to see the world with open eyes, shutter, and heart.

city haze…
the homeless child wishes
for stars

PHOTO CAPTION: Two people coming together digitally (6/12/16, Detroit, Michigan).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHORS: A haibun is a piece of prose or prose poetry followed by a haiku/senryu that adds an extra layer of mood or meaning. The senryu included here, “city haze,” first appeared in Chase’s e-chapbook No Regrets (soon to be available in print). As a couple, Elizabeth and Chase frequently find inspiration in each other; and though Chase is very humble about his photography skills, Elizabeth greatly envies his talent.

AlfordElizabeth Alford is a magna cum laude graduate of California State University, East Bay (B.A. English, 2014). She currently lives in Hayward, California, is an amateur photographer, and spends much of her time writing Japanese short forms of poetry. Her work has recently appeared at Silver Birch Press, Hedgerow, and Failed Haiku. Follow her poetry adventure Facebook.


Chase Gagnon is a twentysomething city boy exploring the streets of Detroit during its renaissance, looking for moments to snap. His poems and photos have appeared in magazines all over the world such as Failed Haiku, Prune Juice, and Frogpond. His chapbook No Regrets has been highly praised in Blithe Spirit, the journal of the British Haiku Society. You can view many of his photos on Facebook.