Biking Across the Pacific Ocean

Every morning, from Monday through Friday, I stagger along on a borrowed bicycle through the pale green pearl of the rice paddies. The commute to school takes me past the local bait and tackle, a Yamaha dealer, and a luminous river that leads into the largest lake in Japan. Before this month, the last time I […]

Existential crisis of the butterfly

At the supermarket I wander through the narrow aisles in my cornflower blue work blouse, stopping every so often to stare intently at packages. I pick them up from off the shelves, and turn them over in my hands, trying to read the nutritional information on their backs. Each time I wade into the the […]

Mientes mucho

My mind often returns to August of last year, to that beach in Kamakura. I remember it was mid-afternoon. I was sitting alone on the cold sand, feeling time within me like an organ of my body, like a second heart, heated, and fast. That entire day I had been alone, on autopilot, but there, […]

松 / 待つ

I take the night train from Narita to Umejima. I sit in the second of three seats facing a window, knees together, my head resting against the backpack in my lap. Every so often I check its pockets, confirming that I still carry three items: a square passport, a cantaloupe orange debit card, and the […]

The colored leaves / Have hidden the paths / On the autumn mountain. / How can I find my girl, / Wandering on ways I do not know?

The clouds rise off the mountains like smoke. Crows sit on telephone wires; they open their wings like Aphrodite scarring the foam. I walk through the neighborhood, in the yellow heat before the typhoon, in my sweaty tee, in running shoes trembling like orange blossoms. Rivers travel from canyon to ocean, belly-up and boneless, in the […]

Fuera menos penado si no fuera

1. SAGRADO: The storms here fill me with a blend of exhilaration and fear that crystallizes heavy and clammy over my thoughts, resting on my heart like unfamiliar cities, or unattainable love. But the air inside Briana’s car is warm, and I feel so safe, as though I am being taken by the hand and […]

El rayo que no cesa

Spring blooms in my stomach like infatuation, decadent, heady, and fatuous. Spring makes the tips of my fingers tremble like newborn roses. Spring dribbles down my chin in milk-warm, orange-pink stripes; it fills me up like cream soda, like honey. Soft, smooth, so sweet, overripe, dissolved in blood, sweat, in floral oils: Spring leaves stains […]

WHAT KIND OF PERSON

What kind of atom string, wrapped around what kind of carbon core, what kind of beating brain and nebulous heart, what kind of moral code, what kind of mantelpiece photograph, what kind of flower in the desert, what kind of desert in flower, what kind of person are you? I’m the kind that can’t be […]

Laundry List

This is my sense of self-worth: A dog in the wintertime, skinny, sitting squat on the side of a country road. A dog, alone, cold, still and wide-eyed as the snow comes down. This is my pride: An arrow, honed for hunting. An arrow, sharp, laying underneath the last layer of skin, straight, alert, at […]

Fine & Crude

During the ceremony of Mahākāla, Lama spreads his fingers slowly and makes a circular motion with his hands, finishing the movement by resting the pads of his thumbs against his forefingers. I’m reminded the film I watched last year, alone in my college dorm room, about Japanese funeral rituals; I remember Daigo, the young protagonist, […]