Poetry / June 2017 (Issue 36: Writing Japan)

Never-ending Dance

by Goro Takano

Over the floor of a room
Where a woman who passed away last week had lived
A man who cared for her on her deathbed
Places systematically one hospital receipt after another
She was keeping them all in order in her drawer

She was crawling all the time on this floor
Dragging her legs too atrophied (due to her illness)
To move of her own free will
She used to compare herself to a masterpiece painting:
Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

As if to trace carefully the shadow of the crawling body
The rows of her white hospital receipts grow slowly
Once each of those printed papers touches the floor
Every number on it starts to float and tremble

She used to wonder in this room
What her last words would be like
All her tip was missed after all
What she really said before her final coma was:

Hundreds of golden Buddhist altars are ranged so beautifully
Why is that evil roach still left loose among them?
Is there anybody here? The horror! The horror!

The whole floor ends up covered by a hundred of hospital receipts
The man collapses in the center of them like Christina
Light from the window immerses them all in gold
The man's shadow looks exactly like an insect

Drifting in the room is nothing but the faint scent of grasslands
It is the scent of refusal or of freedom
The valley of tears is already far away
Everything in this room seems to be the creation of chance

A gust starts pounding the window again

All you have to do now is push it open—
Do so if you want to return all those swaying numbers to the wild
Do so if you want to reawaken from this coma
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