Quivering March, 2011

by Ayako Matsushita


The sea swallows the bay is not a metaphor now, as trees and houses are
taken away from the ground-those disguised hands

tear up Honshu from its edge. How should I narrate myself watching
all of this online in Virginia, as my heart is also

peeled from me with an eerie sound? I worry that Honshu may sink
in the north and spring up in the south like a seesaw,

then be pounded into the ocean at once. The sea fumigates each town
with its aqueous smoke. On the screen, there are

green Japanese islands with thick red outlines that warn of tsunamis
like my heart which is hemmed in a heavy

scarlet that flashes on and off, all night as I lie fully awake, wondering
why I’m in Virginia now—it seems wrong, entirely

wrong, but this might be the easy compassion of a bystander, I think,
and shut my imprudent mouth, and then, my eyes.



Ayako Matsushita grew up in Hachioji City, Tokyo and earned her MFA from Hollins University. Her poems and tanka have been published in Iodine Poetry Journal and the book Heisei Manyo-syu. She was also included in Best New Poets 2011. She currently lives in Tokyo, Japan.


Ayako Matsushita
Ayako Matsushita received her MFA Hollins University's creative writing program. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets 2011, Iodine Poetry Journal, and some Japanese lit magazines and newspapers. She lives in Tokyo, Japan.