Page 50

  1. Febrility


    Tree reaching over window, asking or protecting?

    It is a matter of how it makes me feel, she says to the sky as it melts before her, the rain dampening her morning from the din of the darkness as it passes into daytime’s readiness. This window is but that, a view into a world of which I am not a part, a difference, myself having been disposed of, rejected. She turns away from it in shame, her heart having become heavy with a sorrow drenched in longing, as the patter of precipitation against the pane brings memories into focus, themselves becoming one with the present, as it all blurs together, one atop the other, with what was once elusive and distant now near in its definition.

    It is a matter of what it means to me, this sensation, this crushing weight in my chest, she says to the ground as she prods it with a toe, her foot arched and small, drawing circles into the space she occupies, feeling as if she knows of this, the familiarity of it a friend of the cruelest kind when only the simplest of kindnesses had been her wish. How must I find fondness in this sense of otherness? She cries out quietly so as not to disturb, her awareness becoming sharp with an acuity designed for preservation, not for the observation of nothingness, her tea growing cold, as she stares into its dark depths, the earthy sweetness of it providing a rare, singular delight.

    It is a matter of me not being me, or at least me not being what I feel myself to be, my sense of myself having been replaced by a substitute which works against me for reasons which remain forever far from grasp, she says to herself as she embraces what she knows, her body falling limp into a heap of helplessness, stricken, forsaken. As she lays convulsing, her mind moves within the emptiness of her being, long hallways lined with locked doors to joyful rooms, the disquieting quiet her confidant, the sympathy of the air as it lays still, itself offering calm to her sense of having disappeared but not entirely, desiring a final slippage so that she may no longer effect nor infect, she had meant nothing by it and so she sobs apologies to those never there, paper folded upon itself to construct fantasies unfounded, pitched pennies into fountains, the beginning of another day.

  2. Narrowness


    Lacing in the forest

    She sits beside her self at the edge of a lake, herself altogether apart while her self looks out onto a short pier which stretches out from where they sit, narrow and white and made of wooden boards one after the other, at the end of which a young boy is fishing as a novice, himself sitting and absentmindedly toying with the line as a colorful float bobs in the water nearby, himself staring into the water as if in a reverie, his eyes lost in thought.

    The boy jerks the line suddenly as he stands upright and shows exertion as he reels in whatever has been snared, his concentration deepening, the tip of his tongue showing itself between teeth bared. After a few moments of undaunted effort, the boy pulls a glass ball through the surface of the water into the air and it is left dangling from the line as he and her self both gaze upon what has been revealed.

    The glass ball is not large nor small and is darkly translucent; a hollow, smoky orb, inside of which the answers to every question have become obvious to each and whoever, swirling within the emptiness of it, hazily mixing with the reflection of the water as it warps along the exterior of the sphere, the sun sparkling against it as it hangs from the line, slowly spinning, an opacity growing from where it had been hooked until the transparency of the ball has become a solid blackness, its shell cracking and splintering, sand spilling from the fissures, things falling apart completely until but a shard is left pendulous, all else having returned to the murkiness of the lake, herself now sighing, having become worried about the boy.

    “It was what I had always wanted,” said the boy to no one, for there was no one there to hear him. “It was the nicest thing. These waters were generous and I am grateful for it, though I shall not try again.”

    She watched as he sat once more and prepared his line for another cast, weaving weary wishes onto the hook, past the barb which had taken so much from him, his tears forming puddles on the pier, his diminutive sandals shed yet neatly positioned one against the other and not far from him, they rest there together with the closeness of a friendship, the tightest of bonds, she thought: wouldn’t it be lovely to have something like that?

    She sits with her self and listens to the water as its slow, rhythmic ripples twinkle against the stones which comprise the lakeshore, the softness of the gently rushing wind tickling her as it brushes past only to get caught within the leaves of a tree, the rustling, her neck bristling, her self abandoning her there as she swims within her memories, a darkness falling around her as she fails in her struggle with the sheerness of it, slipping helplessly along the side of this churning circumstance, this stunting malady off-kilter, awry, thus leaving her wilting and lost, straggling, and she topples into it after all, her self missing her as she sits beside herself, wondering in which way to wander next, as herself continues to fall.

  3. All That I Have


    I envied her anger. Try as I might to get angry, it slips away. There is nothing for me to seize onto, and so I reach out, and my hand passes right through all that I have.

    Hiromi Kawakami, Manazuru, translation by Elisabeth Suetsugu