Love Story

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?
It was the voice of the air.

And she painted it with oils whose faint cloud blue
stayed on her hands at night.

She would tie up her hair first, as if a wind were coming
as it did the day their group

made its way up Mount Miwa, and the wind
crossed her face with black feathers

as if something were shaking out of her, to reappear
calmly on the pond far below.

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?
It was the glow that remains when all
the other lights have dimmed.

And she painted it for Hiroshi because he would not remember
how she looked that autumn afternoon,

when he said, seeing her alone, Why don’t you walk up with us?
because he would not remember

how, as they climbed the steep path, her hair came loose, and
flew across her face.

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?
It was the skein of the sea.

And she sat on the cold train all day with the painting in her lap.
Finally, in the Tokyo dark, she arrived.

There is a character in Japanese whose radical is silk, and it means
the deepest love a woman can have for a man.

It means connection, as by unbreakable thread, and its meaning
does not admit bodily touch.

And it ends at the pointed tip of the brush, the wet gray finish of
the character, as the hand falls to rest.

Back