The Objects in Japanese Novels

by Elaine Equi

Empty cages outline
the periphery of an unnamed thing.
Their emptiness shines
like lanterns on virgin snow.
A few flakes swirl up,
caught — as scenic views
are caught in parts of speech,
where wishes and schemes
grow gloomy as a shrine,
and hair is a kind of incense.
Here, even abundance is delicate
with a slender waist.
And sorrow, embarrassment, disgust
can be aestheticized too
if surrounded by the right things —
a refreshing breeze, a small drum.

Last updated February 23, 2023