Sophia Terazawa



The Meteorologist in Tōhoku

We learn “stay” means “please,
don’t leave me.”

Like groping at a sun who scorns us,
most obey his rise,

would euthanize a village
if they had to. Pick,

they’d say, book or the man
who climbs above it.

He’ll look before he burns us
at a shrine where we lace

our crowns with ash in waiting
for the lord who’d lead

us out a darker path, and then,
as if by fate, he’d leave.

Dear god, I fear a better place.
The kingfisher dried up

means kingdom blessed, but who
would want her corpse?

Instead, I fear you’ll plant
a nation in her name,

the house of rising suns.



Should we explain the moments leading up to genesis,
like a bomb to heaven spawning handful after handful of men.
White pinwheels at dawn, dew-dropped horizon, island cane.
It’s better, perhaps, to start on the ground and watch them fall.

We hope one is ours, imagine him calm and clear-headed
despite the missile strapped to his back, remember him the gentle boy
we kissed in secret, decades before we grew our hair
moonstone black and down to the knees, tamed only by a drum:

the taiko’s thunder beat. Or drawn sword. Human torpedoes
aiming at a god, more specifically, her heart. To stab an oak
over and over until the ones around it weep,
lay their branches down in protest and hurtle, mouths agape,

toward space, we need a three-ringed gate from which to exit,
one race among many. Like bodies in the sun who darken with age,
we lift the lightest as offering, and from her skin
an opening. We will push her through, praying when she lands

whoever finds her would not think to ask where she comes from,
would, instead, let her bathe alone, let her hair be shadow crawler, oh,
let her speak if she must. In fragments. The sacred book
stuck deep within her trachea no midwife can extract,

except, if she were desperate enough, our kojiki
would be smoked out volume after volume, beginning with a mountain
split down the middle like preface to occupation
or something worse, a public quarrel between two lovers.

They sit across from each other by the window. Maybe
hours pass, arms folded like a barge. You know this did not have to be
a fight, how comparing now to what we used to feel
dredges from the mud a child’s doll abandoned after war,

but you bite down anyway, body soft the way a sprite
forgives as soon as we return. Nothing else to bury

Sophia Terazawa is a Vietnamese-Japanese poet, performer and author of the digital chapbook I AM NOT A WAR (Essay Press, 2016). Her work has recently appeared in killing fields journal, TENDRLOIN, Mud City Journal, and The Felt.
Mark Cugini