All the dead melt, 

And summer grass stands in clumps. 

(Am I coming and going 

inside a dream?) 

The Chinese bellflower lifts its pale blue flame. 

Hens kick up sand with fierce claws. 

Unable to bear it, 

small insects contract their bodies in. 

In the background, my mother is crushed. 

I become like water. 

The cat with the bulging eyes 

stares fixedly at this.

from Nine Poems 

by Aoyama Miyuki 

translated by Malinda Markham

also from Antioch Review, Winter 2004

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