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Story of a river

Mariko ASAI





“It's too dark to hear,” says A.


“Yea,” says K.

“Yea,” says K's son A.

The first A and the second A are different As.


The first A has many tools that have strings to vibrate.

He kept putting them out and then in,

From here to there, from there to here.


When one goes from here to there, there becomes here.


H told a story 

about his hometown that was swept away by water.


He said that he once again saw a miracle

At the mouth of a big river, further north of the town. 


In the snow,

The bus bound for the T-Apartment Complex arrives.


I walked through the yellow to the place where H said he saw a miracle, 

I don't know if it's Ashi or Yoshi I'm wading through


The ground beneath my feet is soft.




There are too many red-pin marks,

I wonder which direction I should go.


I go up a slope a bit,

I go down a bit,


The strong wind

Pushes me a bit to the side.


The sea seen through the gaps.


My blue jacket is by this river.

K tells me about my blue jacket she saw in her dream.


I sank into the river, my jacket in her hands.


The first K and the second K are different Ks


This side of the big river is snowing, and that side is sunny,


And here, I sank into the water.

My blue jacket is left behind

On a black sandy riverbank.




A red pin holds a butterfly.

Its shadow is there but not here.


P's wife is always knitting.

As she knits without looking at her hands,

She talked about an island much further to the north,

An island shaped like a butterfly.


M never made it.

She never made it to that island.




On the second winter,

The bus bound for the T-Apartment Complex was still cold.


An old man, not A, K, H, P or M,

Sat down on a bench by the riverbank,

And said, “hello.”

I didn't ask him his story.

Brackish water from here and there froze.


As I slowly sank into

A softer ground than before,  

I dropped a black ring.




The first A plucks the strings.

Sounds without any listener, remained unfocused,

Like scattered, multifaceted eyes.




This road beside the bridge crossing a big river

Was the one not taken.






M' s uncle had a roomful of blue jackets,

And wore only a blue jacket.

He wore this jacket and that for her to see.


The first M and the second M are different Ms.

This was what the second M told me.


The second M holds a big fish.







The river with the name of a wool fabric,

Splits and stretches into branches like flashes of lightning.

Pieces of wool yarn diagonally stretch from there and from here.


Many sheep eats grass,

Many deer eats grass,

The soil collapses,

And I says, the river will overflow.




I, on the other side of a frosted glass window,

Said that the tip of her nose was cold.


I, who always lives in cloudy daytime, sometimes sees the sun.

This side is night.

Oftentimes, a strong wind blows.



I says that our conversation, held without ever having met one another, is like a dog taking a walk.


Sniffing around,

Here and there, there and here.


I can’t actually feel I’s smell.

Nor do I feel her presence,

But I learned a bit about the rhythm of how she talks.



M,  T and M did not take this road, 

Alongside the bridge that crosses the large river.

They crossed the bridge on a clear night and headed toward a hotel.

The first M and the second M are different  Ms.

The first M walked slowly behind the other two,

As she gazed beyond the river that splits into two large branches.

The second M said something, but the sound of the water was too loud

To make out what she was saying.  


This story is not yours or mine.




The first M held the second M’s  worn-out, black, cloth bag,

And looked at the blue triangle that is said to have been drawn by P.

The first P and the second P are different Ps.


But since the second P is gone,

The triangle that is said to be drawn by the second P was actually drawn by someone other than the second P.

The design on the bag is faded.


The black bag is terribly heavy.

Inside must be dark and filled with water,

Where a big fish also swims. 

The first M’s cell phone is soaking wet.  





to be continued

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