Temporary, Temporary





Something that goes on sinking
at times, triggered by something, swoops up to the surface.
If that's what's called an accident,
I would let what goes on sinking
go on sinking endlessly
and even if what now goes on sinking inside me
even if it is unhappiness itself,
I'd be terrified if what goes on sinking becomes heavy and stops.

This morning's paper
carries a story about a sad crime by a woman my age.
With that stranger's unhappiness on my table,
I'm listening to the sound of sinking
of what goes on sinking inside me.


A Negative of Sprin

Spring finally
into the depths of wounds finally
thin rain is falling on a goat's back
in his spine
the consciousness of the age of water revives
elves playing knees knocking each other
a gardener puffing into flowers to make them balloon
infant calls of a goat surfeited with grass
a friend accompanying a boy
brings the cookies she made herself
the excitement of fingers scooping up fresh cream

Blue mold growing inside
the family in a copper pot becomes even more reticent
a boy goes on polishing some amorphous triangle
big sister stares all day at a just-imported fruit she bought

Aged sisters are eating late-spring oysters.
At the other end of the telephone
someone says:
We're conducting a survey of ladies aged 19 to 39, and I'm wondering. . . .
She isn't here.
When do you expect her back, ma'am?
To hell with them!

I remove my ears and plant them in the garden.
The rain goes on falling on them, too.
I hear a young fox playing the bugle.
He must have sensed that I love festivals.



Behind me a child was crying calling out to me,
Mama, Mama. I knew it was my child but I didn't really have
the sense that he was and I was bewildered when Ririko passed by smiling,
so I said, Would you take care of this child from time to time?
Who knows, he may be your child.
But Ririko walked away pretending not to have heard me,
so resenting the cold-hearted Ririko I made riceballs
and ate them with the child.


Ode to Loving Thoughts

My god resides in the attic,
though I'm acrophobic and can't go up there,
though I get dizzy just thinking of myself climbing up the ladder.

They tell me there's only junk in the attic.
They say it's all sooty and they can't even put things away.
And yet
my god resides there.
Though I can't see him,
the sense of his gentle presence makes me gentle.
My god resides there.
Sometimes the attic makes strange noises.


The Teeth

We'd like to nibble a bone,
my teeth sometimes mutter.
A what? I ask
and they fall silent.
Did they have a former life as tough and brilliant as dog's teeth?
Or is it just a dream of someone who keeps suffering from cavities?
Every time I hear that muttering
I feel vaguely festive around my mouth.


Woman Poet

Did he say I'm a poet?
Did he really say something like that?
And you, my big brother,
you didn't say anything unnecessary, did you?
Be careful.
Oh, no,
stop talking about a woman like that.
You are a poet's big brother, remember?
Look, there,
a sweet potato has rolled out.
Pick it up and eat it up.
After all, I am a poet, you see.
He said so,
you just told me, didn't you?

Do I use too much rouge, you're saying?
I know. Leave me alone.
Someone like you, with no erudition, can't hope to see this.
A poet must be conspicuous, you know.
She must look pretty, you know.
Look at yourself. You look terrible.
I am a poet.
Being a poet isn't easy.
What are you saying!
I'm saying, with a deliberately loud voice, I am a poet, I am a poet.
I want everybody to know I am a poet, you see.
You just don't get it, you know.
Having a big brother like you
is embarrassing to a poet.


The Snow

In the darkness a hatchet wavers like a flame.
Grandfather and grandmother quarrel sadly.
In my hometown the roof is putting up with the weight of the snow. I can hear it breathe.
A mirror cleanses my room and reflects it.
White illicit porcelain.
A swarm of spirits descend endlessly, toward which
I row out in a boat.
The way they are punished
they look as beautiful as arranged flowers.
The snow still goes on falling.
Sad clowning in infanthood.
while being led by hand by a boy monk of lotus seeds
I become a glass-colored jellyfish:
a slight fever of a lost dream.
The contagious disease that started with me
in the end doesn't infect anyone
and I grow that much more sickly.
An arm as cold as a sharp blade
entwines my neck wrapped in cotton.
The snow still, still goes on falling,
and in the madness that begins to smell like a thin wing
I prepare myself to go someplace else.


Late Afternoon Meal

I am peeling myself like an onion one layer after another.
I have a slight fever.
I peel and peel but can't finish it.
It's already past mealtime.
Late afternoon meal.
Myself like an onion peeled halfway thrown on the table
I'm nibbling a bone with bits of meat on it.


Want to Go Back

I want to go back,
with just that one old furoshiki I've carefully kept,
to myself, a girl dreaming of a big city and weeding.
And I'll just tell her,
Up there it was merely noisy.
And I, the girl, will just look up at me
and continue her dreaming,
continue her weeding.



By stretching out my hand I may reach your dream.
Every time you turn
my fingers feel bewildered.
Every time your smile wavers
at the brocade of your dream
my heart is broken.
By stretching out my hand I may reach your dream.
Twisting your dream off and running away,
that image of myself flickering.

By stretching out my hand
I may reach your dream.



I'm seated in a corner of a strange theater
when the usher girl comes by
and asks how are you, ma'am.
I ask back where is this.
The girl again says
how are you, ma'am.
And I ask back
where is this.
How are you, ma'am?
Where is this?

How are you, ma'am?
Where is this?

Beyond us
I'm alone on the stage
crying my heart


(C) Nobuko Kimura / Hiroaki Sato