by Yoko Danno

               Puffing and panting,

               to the hilltop ascending,

               what do I expect to see

               flat surface of a writhing sea?

I wanted to prolong my stay downstairs a little longer so that she might be finished for good in the bathtub upstairs―a horrifying dream. But instead I hurriedly ran up the stairs to pull her out of the water―just in time―while she was still alive. Who was the drowning woman? My indispensable opponent―a flagpole to fasten my tightrope to?

I was struggling for days to write a poem about a woman―without success. The woman appears in the mirror on the wall from time to time when I look at my reflection and sets my nerves afire. I just wanted to ask her how she had managed to escape from her cocker spaniel and the Spaniard, who she said were untiringly stalking her.

She is a big woman, followed by a lot of friends, but whenever I try to observe her closely the spaniel and the Spaniard appear and form a triangle with her. I usually lose sight of her in the ‘magical’ triangle, utterly lost in the fog. Incidentally, a few days ago I read a mystery in which a murderer is ambushed by the assumed victim.

You know what? However hard you try to flee from your giant or your fellow dog, you can’t, because they’re a part of what you are. If you successfully dismiss them, your whole system would eventually fail―that is my fear. There’s no taming one’s nature except practice―practice―practice. The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. Whose words?

I feel a current of humid air from the south and hear the calls of birds hurrying home. Cicadas have stopped singing―sign of a storm. Clouds are gathering. The sky will soon be entirely covered without a break―through which I may have a chance to peep into a world beyond, as vast and deep as a madness for flight. Yes, an easy breakthrough is rare.

It is blowing wild, sleet banging on the roof tiles, my old house creaking badly; in occasional flashes of lightning a pair of trees are revealed―the boughs in common, the trunks joined together like Siamese twins, roars of worry howling across the hill, sending shivers up my spine. Visibility becoming poor, how I wish for a clear night!

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