Weather Patterns

Kyong-Mi Park

    Knit diagonally. Get off the spoon. Crisp, grand celery. Chop fatback at a steady clip and walk on. Square of a green onion. Cloud-shape of a Russian dumpling and the shape of a hat and. Teeth and miso and gestures and. Go out front and give it inflection. Spring, as it ever is spring. The handle on the small pot clatters. These sandals have a fine patina. Standing in the bicycle space. The tough solid things sink. Water loosely seeps in. Spring, as it ever is spring. Oh, I’d like to hit my head on a tofu corner and die. (Would like to laugh.)
    Even here twenty-three years have passed.
    Always folding the evening in like this at the mouth of spring, that’s me.
    I get this tofu after selecting it carefully.
    I set my chopsticks in from the corner and bring it to my mouth.
    As the rich taste of beans soaks into my tongue – how I wish I could give you some – my temples convey. Wish I could share this with her – but she’s no longer in this world – my heart tightens. My chopsticks quicken to the tofu, I clench my jaw. I chew the tofu and my teeth sound, like an idiot. A line of water is drawn to my ears, and I choke back my crying.
    We’ll probably meet again.
    The chest of the sky expands blue on the brink of night is drawn closer.
    Let’s hitch our promises firmly to the Big Dipper.

    Because this instrument
    started playing on its own
    its strings go just a touch out of their way
    for the brightness of the bright room
    To strum is to grow internal
    Fingertips gently touch my internal voice
    My breath gathers pleats
    and the sound enters softly
    Will only that which is irreducible
    to nothing
    Will it vaguely point out
    gather up
    My nails, and ears
    Rhythm is not how it used to be
    Rhythm is measured in a box
    Rhythm measures my heart, just a touch

    ducking the air
    and even then her Chima, appearing to breathe

    Translated by Sawako Nakayasu


Kyong-Mi Park - Kyong-Mi Park was born in 1956. Since publishing her first book of poetry Supu (Soup) in 1980, she has continued to publish numerous works of poetry and prose in major Japanese publications including La Mer, Waseda Bungaku, Ginka and Asahi Weekly. She is noted for her translations of Gertrude Stein: The World is Round (1987) and Geography and Plays (co-translation 1992), in addition to other translations such as Over the Moon by Mother Goose (1990). Her essays have been collected in The Guardian Spirit in a Garden: Words to Remember (1999), and There are always birds in the air (Goryu Shoin, 2004), while recent collections of poetry include That little one (Shoshi Yamada, 2003), and The cat comes with a baby cat in its mouth (Shoshi Yamada, 2006). In 2001 she participated in the exhibit Dialog 2001: Artists in Banff (Canadian Embassy Gallery, Tokyo). Park’s work has been translated into English, Korean and Serbian, with English translations published in Aufgabe, Factorial, HOW2, Green Integer Review, and Other Side River, an anthology of contemporary Japanese women’s poetry. Park currently teaches at Wako University and the Yotsuya Art Studium.
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