By Sagawa Chika

Translated by Sawako Nakayasu

from Issue 21


Simple words, like a broken gramophone—
Grass laughs hysterically, with its bright green open mouth.
And then the skirts sway quietly.
The road dries into white
And the men drag their tired feet
To where the hair flows, red like wolfberries.

Sagawa Chika (real name Aiko Kawasaki), was born in 1911 in Hokkaido, Japan. One of Japan’s first female Modernist poet, her poems were posthumously collected and edited by Ito Sei and published under the title Sagawa Chika Shishuu (Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika) in 1936.

Sawako Nakayasu writes and translates poetry, and also occasionally creates performances and short films. Her most recent books are The Ants (Les Figues, 2014) and a translation of The Collected Poems of Sagawa Chika (Canarium Books, forthcoming 2014). Other books include Texture Notes (Letter Machine Editions, 2010), Hurry Home Honey (Burning Deck, 2009), and Mouth: Eats Color—Sagawa Chika Translations, Anti-translations, & Originals, which is a multilingual work of both original and translated poetry. She has received fellowships from the NEA and PEN, and her own work has been translated into Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish, Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

Original text: Chika Sagawa, “Wind” from The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa. Tokyo: Shinkaisha, 2010.

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