by Shiga Naoya, translated by David Meltzer and Allen Say
Printed by Graham Mackintosh, 1976
The Soapmaker's Daughter
"Devlin On Velvet," up in lights. She's
an Irish dancer, with a name like Maureen.
When you find Maureen lying in
wait on the couch, your cells jump. Your
polarities reverse. Need oiling.
Oh, maybe her name is Eileen.
She's from Jamaica Plain.
Her middle name's Virginia. Boy, you wonder,
when those black eyes look back at you,
what were they thinking?
Midsummer night. The oil, since you bring it up,
lubes the concupiscent pole
Ginny shinnies. Some loser in the S
RO was saying, Now I lay me, Colleen,
in the valley of the shadow of death!
Who doesn't? she says. Get over it.
When she sits down, on my lap, I say,
I never noticed enough of you then.
That's alright, she says. Make a novena for me.
You and I, by the way, doesn't imply
I am not writing a dictionary.
You is both of us.
Back Contents Next