after Kotaro Takamura
The world sinks, downcast, into night.
Evening, and at Hibiya Park, people gather
Near the edge of the palace bridge,
Smiles masking disquiet hearts.
At the gardens of Matsumotoro,
We share crushed ice and syrup.
The rumors travel in whispers,
Faint, like the sound of a distant bell.
Like Meiji-tennō’s verses,
Silence pierces us, like knives.
But nothing makes sense now,
Not poetry, nor this summer night.
Not this night, veiled in ice like grief,
Grief as cold as silver. Your folding fan,
Inconsequential, falls as you flee. I pick it up.
Outside, by the dark road, you are crying.
But I dare not say what I should.
Outside, the people walking past us
Think it is all about the palace news –
Heartbreaking, heartbreaking –
Strangers, passing us by, leaving us
Awash in our own desolation, our sorrow
Swallowed up in theirs, praying
They forgive us these, our secret tears.