April 7, 2014
Flickers of Japan

Moonlit sky. Silvery sheen.
Sliver of light. Soft groan.
Open window. Pink peonies.
White comb. Sliver of light.
Pink paper fan. White moth.
In shadows, an unlit bulb.

Black strand of hair. White comb.
Swaddled to a slat, the baby sleeps.
Red obi binds hands and feet.
Bare bulb. Crescent moon.
Sliver of light. A train arrives.
Hiss of steam. Gasp of brakes.

Seeping out the train,
kimono-clad women,
humming, single file
passing the open window.
Open mouths. Open fans.
Rustle of silk. Mist descends.

The baby wakes and blinks
at powdered faces. Pale moons.
Red lips. Pink paper fans.
White combs. Hiss of steam.
Gasp of brakes. White moth.
Fluttering groan. Sliver of light.

Bare bulb swings. Baby’s cheek.
Black strands of hair.
White sharp comb. Red obi, slashed.
Slivers. Pink fingers.
Crescent moon. Window shut.
In unison the geishas sing

                                  and bare white teeth.

-J.L. Kato (Marion County)


JL Kato is a native of Japan who grew up in Indiana and lives in Beech Grove. He is the poetry editor of The Flying Island Online Literary Journal.

Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem from an Indiana poet every day in April (hand-selected by Indiana Poet Laureate George Kalamaras). Check in daily to see who is featured next!

Posted In: Poetry

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