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Prayer for My Octogenarian


ISSUE:  Summer 2012

for Miwa Yanaga’s chromogenic prints of young Japanese women imagining their lives in fifty years


My octogenarian
awakens

in a red dress,
azalea or flame.

She says,
if you’re blessed to live

as long as I have,
sail ahead—

no one will care.
Raise a glass house

above a lagoon.
Spear a sea

bass for supper. Heal
your eyes. Compose

a silent koto-poem
for strangers.

In summer rain, you say—
Peace, my love
I mean no harm

in hummingbird
language. Yes,

my loved ones
leave earth,

yet I remain
a strong-backed

woman flying
through clouds,

koi, pondweed
skin of ages.

I say, kishi kaisei.
Wake from death,

return to life.

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