Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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Translating Issa #4

             Teacher E. thinks with his throat. Over school lunch, he
wandered in mind across kept grass and an ocean, turned to me and
said he knows an American poet called Whitman. It was a windy
afternoon. The ferry from mainland wouldn’t run until the typhoon
had passed, at least four more days. I know him, too, I said and
searched for some way to express that since I found Whitman I’d
never not been reading him. But that would have been a spiritual
discussion and the noodles were cooling.
            When Issa was my age, he saw glass in the sand. Not shards
from broken bottles but the whole beach a window. He saw next
year’s water in this year’s cracked creek. He saw black butterflies in
shade of cedar trees on new moon nights.
            I have traveled far. Much of my love is potential and every
direction inviting.

What ground I once stomped
in someone else’s eyes is full
of wildflowers?  end

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