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POEM: Tsurumigawa

Listen to this poem using the player above.

Tsurumigawa photo by Ivan Kurniawan
Tsurumigawa photo by Ivan Kurniawan


ironically, we lived along the See Crane River
it sliced through the rice fields
that were just steps from the busy road

Tokyo and Yokohama and Kawasaki
are joined like an urban Cerberus
between them, hidden bits of unexpected farmland

bent old women in worn rubber boots
knotted bandanas around their heads
slop through the wet paddies

reaching crumpled fingers into waving rice
and plucking out the o-kome
the flesh of their people

in Ichigao, our town,
the women could have walked
a mile along the river

and treated themselves
to McDonald’s french fries
or the Colonel’s secret recipe

of herbs and spices
a bloodless invasion
leaving no cloud in its wake

I don’t think we ever actually
saw a crane on the river
that bore the bird’s name

like Oak Glen or Forest Heights
the name is simply a reminder
of what’s been taken away

gold flecks in green tea
gold plastic across the street
from the train station

and the Colonel standing there
arms outstretched, smiling
beckoning the cranes to fly to him

Published in Audio Poems Japan My poems Poetry Travel

One Comment

  1. I really love this… a lot of beautiful imagery. And these lines: “a bloodless invasion / leaving no cloud in its wake.”

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