Blesok no. 49, July-August, 2006

The Starboard of My Wife

Yasuhiro Yotsumoto

On the way

On the way we knew not from where
my wife plucked a flower.
Above us
hang the sky
and below on the ground
countless pebbles.

On the way we knew not to where
My wife plucked a flower.
Once we lost, then found
each other in front
of a graveyard on the bank of a river.

Not that anyone had called us
nor sent us away,
we just followed the tiny arrows
in faded yellow
marked everywhere around us.

The sins we made we know not
nor the salvation.
In the dark shade of swaying leaves of our hearts
stooping to the bottom of silence,
my wife plucked a flower.


Kids are not home today.
Our son is on a school trip, our daughter at Helena’s.
When was the last time we had dinner sitting face to face like this.

The evening paper finally ran the photographs of a boy and a girl, abducted, the boy was 11 years old, and his sister, 8,
just like Ken and Rika two years ago.
No, they have not found the body of the girl yet.

We are having dinner, face to face.
My wife says something, to which I reply, and all the while
we hear the knives and forks clattering on the plates.

Another couple who will listen to the same sound
at the edge of the bottomless darkness;
they could have been us, so
should we be happy, giving a prayer of thankfulness?

Bread crumbs falling from the edge of my mouth into the abyss.
Cool wind blows up from far below.
My wife passes me the salt.


My wife and her mother, that is to say
my mother in law are watching our children playing,
standing side by side.
They exchange some words,
burst into laughter,
and then fall silent, just standing there
like reeds in the wind.

Ghosts of smile still on their faces,
I see the ancient masks
a wilderness with a seed of anger hidden beneath
a lake filled with unfathomable resignation.

The two women share without speaking
the secrets about the blood the snake the fruits,
like a punishment
sentenced only to those who brought life on earth.

The little one tried to mount a lamb and almost fell,
the two women at once reach out.
That moment from two thousand years ago
repeats itself like a hologram
in the cave of this morning.

The Starboard of My Wife

In a dream before the dawn
I saw my wife as a wrecked ship
lying on tidal flats.

The slanting shadow on the wet sand
did not move,
while I wandered like a dog
along the smooth dry surface of my wife’s starboard.

Out of the dream, I walked downstairs,
peed, looking through the toilet window
at the flakes of the snow
caught and trembling on a spider web.

A strange boy was in the kitchen
talking to me in a matter-of-fact tone,
“There is nothing scary about dying. When the tide goes out,
people go back and forth”.

He then walked into the shimmering of the ground glass door
leaving on the floor his wet footprints.

Meeting in the shadow

It was either before I fell asleep
or just after I woke up that my wife said matter of factly
she had met my mother.
I only said “yes” but sure I knew

that my mother, dead for a quarter century,
would not travel all the way from her shore.
It must be my wife who set out,

walking across the field of dreams, climbing down the valley.

Her boldness, hidden under the apparent timidity, has not changed
at all since we first met – a quarter century ago.
She still jumps at the bang of a door,
yet is lured so easily by the sun and the wind, and
can dance without music.

But when the wind stops, it’s so deadly quiet here.
Over from the hilltop of a closed eyelid,
I see my wife walking back.
Her face smeared with dirt, her bare foot bleeding,
she holds to her chest silence which looks like a strange animal.

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