Last month before our summer hiatus, we at GMA asked you to submit a poem about your placement in the prefecture. It could be any kind of poem, any length and rhythm, so long as it was about your home in Aomori. Our first submission is from Melissa Pavy about her placement in Yomogita Village, and it reminds us to find the beauty in a day that could otherwise be considered a gloomy one.
We were supposed to clean the seashore –
the children in dusty white caps and bright
new garden gloves, the senior citizens’ club
with headscarves and cigarettes,
the board of education with a box of trowels and
a megaphone – we were to fill plastic bags with tangled
threads of seaweed, to discover abandoned analog
televisions and artifacts of the fishing industry
among north coast rosa rugosa and wild purple
morning glories blooming in the afternoon
wind. But it rained, the phone
rang, and we spent Wednesday leafing
through dictionaries with the door open
to the cool, the scent, the sound.
I learned igai, when things are other
than as you thought, and igai but agreed upon ways to
pronounce a word that means “the surface of the water;”
sea-moon as jellyfish; “to feel by implication” – kehai –
the word is almost nothing but
breath, or breath caught – kehai:
a teenage Russian sailor, basil
seedlings, breathing sugar dust,
a rosary bracelet under the cuff
of the science teacher’s dress shirt, fizz
glittering off the surface of a canned lemon
cocktail and into the festival sky, to glance up
from the morning bicycle commute
at the heavy blue you forgot
would be there rimmed with
roses, teeming with milky sea-moons.
Have a poem about your placement? Please email all haikus, free-form verse, lyrics, and prose to firstname.lastname@example.org!