By Jim Nawrocki
Published in 16.2
Fuji hides, silent now like an empty cricket cage.
veiled by torn-edge clouds, That night, I walk over dark stone
a rain gray sky draped under drizzle as boats drop lanterns
over emergences of green into the canals for the festival,
as I float, dozing, a small galaxy coming to life,
on the train to Matsue. The Romance of the Milky Way.
It rains It rains
as I look from my ryokan window when I climb to grand Matsue castle
to a clump of trees on the Ohashigawa, above the trees, and later, down the hill,
the landing where Lafcadio Hearn through a torii on my last day,
first stepped out, the bridge he crossed passing row after row of Inari,
ages ago, to get here. each one’s face, smoothed
I study by a century or more
remnants through museum glass: of the earth’s eternal water,
Hearn’s suitcase, hat, a comb, pipes,
palimpsest pages spread open by time
with the ink he wove through notebooks at its steady work of erasure.
in this new language of signs.
stupidly, in front of his desk,
a replica, absent any mark of him,
and turn to take in what was once his view,
walls of doors open to his garden,
open also to loneliness, this room