Literary Zone

Japanese poet Yuki Tanaka

30 May 2024 at 16:09 | 1066 views


By Yuki Tanaka

I sit on a chair and the chair touches me back.
According to my chair, I have two hips
and bones inside them hard as peach pits.

The femurs connected to the pelvis
lead to the kneecaps. I have kneecaps.
In the ancient past of my village, people used them

as drinking cups: a boy sipping sake
from the kneecap of grandfather,
whose kneecap is bigger than grandmother’s.

She helps her son detach the kneecap from the leg
and wash it in the stream. White of the kneecap,
she thinks, is trembling like a moon.

Funny it smells sweeter than the knee of the man
she remembers. When he was alive,
he wasn’t much of a man—thin, boneless,

his shoulder soft as a berry-bearing ivy.
Funny he seems more alive now,
this trembling bone under the cold water.

Credit: Paris Review