Zaskihi Warashi*

I’m leaning too much into the wind,
as if it were a carpet
meant to carry me over meadows.

Perhaps you’re right,
and it’s only my imagination
that flickered that day at Ryōan-ji**,
so long ago,
when I thought a spirit from the garden
joined me on the journey
to the other side of the Pacific,
next to the Rockies.

And when I thought you left,
perhaps you only went to sleep
while I returned to my ancestral home
from the Carpathian Mountains.

But now I’m all alone,
and yesterday
your name echoed
on the tv screen.

And then came the power cut
and the internet outage,
and next morning came the frog
jumping on the floor of the stable
and disappearing below through a crack,
and the stirring shadow
at the edge of the terrace,
and the cows that gave
more milk than usual,
and the rusty nails in musical dance
pushed by the broom,
and the candies
that shifted
on the plate
from the living room.

I’m leaning too much into the wind,
and it’s only my imagination
like a pair of butterfly wings
burdened by hope.

But I can’t help thinking
that you might be here.

*Zashiki-warashi (座敷童子, or 座敷童, “parlor child”), sometimes also called zashiki bokko (座敷ぼっこ, “parlor boyo”), are spirit-like beings told about mostly in the Iwate Prefecture. They are said to be yokai that live in parlors or storage rooms, and that perform pranks, and that people who see one would be visited with good fortune. (from Wikipedia)

**Ryōan-ji (Shinjitai: 竜安寺, Kyūjitai: 龍安寺, The Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan. It belongs to the Myōshin-ji school of the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered one of the finest surviving examples of kare-sansui (“dry landscape”), a refined type of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles (small, carefully selected polished river rocks) raked into linear patterns that facilitate meditation. The temple and its gardens are listed as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (from Wikipedia)


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