Incredibly poignant tanka, Roger. Quite apart from the beautiful sabi content, I am struck by how you have worked the rhythm in this poem. The first 3 lines begin with what appear to be a recovery from shock – 6 syllables, 4 syllables and an almost funereal finality in the 3 syllables in line 3 – "dead four years-" But then the poem opens again into the naturalness of conversation. The effect is uplifting and joyful.
Truly moving and powerful, Roger. Thank you for sharing.