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Miho Nonaka-ll




Something not to be painted, but set

to music, Tanizaki wrote. Dusk,

when their light is the clearest,

My husband and I walk on the grass,

smelling of beer and garlic.

I teach him a song that accompanies the hunt:


Ho, ho, ho-taru come out;

the water this side flows sweeter.


Had I known how sweet the water is

in Illinois, I would have felt less

afraid flying back from Tokyo, to reunite with him

who doesn’t speak my mother tongue

and I am not much of a translator.


Again this summer, my friend told me,

the local pharmaceutical company has hired

children to “harvest” fireflies. Are you allowed

to write a poem with the word

“enzyme” in it?


So remote a song, far from being

desperate, signals flash on and off

of their own accord—

my husband and I are watching now

from our separate spots.