No doubt about it,
the inside of a train
cooks things to a turn.
The bald head
of that fellow sitting beside me
and the slender, wobbly legs
of the little girl catty-corner from me on the right
simmered to a juicy pulp,
dissolved in sunlight
slanting through the windows
and spilled along the floor at a crawl,
slower than a walk.
The one holdout is
the young woman
sitting directly across from me
holding on tight
to an angular package wrapped in a bright red bandanna.
Every now and then she crosses and re-crosses her legs in various ways —
legs that might stay smooth and white
however much you peeled them —
eyeing me all the while.
Her two eyeballs
from an expression of no apparent temperature
are on the verge of pouring melted light
into every crevice in my swaying body.
(I mustn’t fall for it)
That’s no look of invitation,
but proof she’s cooked up tender on the bone,
eyes first. There —
the moment the train pulled into Koiwa,
she turned soundlessly into a translucent morsel
and came sliding towards my feet
at a snail’s pace.
Japan, 1984 -
Translation: Juliet Winters Carpenter
Originally in Japanese from: Hirumo Yorumo
Publisher: midnight press, Tokyo, 2003
Translation from: Day and Night
Publisher: Yamaguchi City, Yamaguchi, 2005
Web source: Poetry International
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