Issue 31: Kenny Tanemura
Afternoons when light
filters through the closed blinds,
my infant son: Rome, for example,
a greasy plate of poutine
rubs off on your fingers.
A walk to the apartment lobby
that shines like a palace
before turning into a half-opened closet
of wrinkled shirts.
My father wore blocks of navy
with green lines passing through it.
On a train, blinds closed to keep the Japanese
from tracking the arid dirt land
in a foggy city.
Photography over painting.
Behind barbed wire, caught in
a song on the radio,
reading about the war in the papers.
A bat striking a ball.
Clean this barrack up,
can’t you see the dust balls?
The star in the lamp flowers
as the orchestration
pops again. Her hat crows,
each brick of the church
in a face, with its doors and potted plants.
The eye knows the lines of the moon
coalesces into light on water
broken by the color in a man’s eyes,
the slanting curves
in a name written by hand.
A fly’s wings see yellow in everything,
seed, rain, orange, black.
A page turns silk in candlelight,
vapors form a bird’s beak.
The tines of a pitchfork
warily watches the windmill,
the boulevard, a glass of beer.
The woman in a jar
scrapes on a chair’s legs.
White pillowcases move the branches.
The heat, the sky still white.
The cobblestones go there to feel
like they’ve been somewhere.
a snowy mountain,
far ahead, jumped on the tracks.
Wended to this country
of sub-tropical heat.
The snow mounted on the balcony,
the snow of last year.
Buried under the ground,
there are pages,
traces of lavender
or jasmine, no one
sees the change.
The power adapter lost,
a photo album from before his birth
holds pictures snapped after V-E Day.
The album where his father throws a football
in his leather helmet.
The arm cocked back to toss a dart.
Jumped to see over the heads
of the defensive line, to see the field
in this album. The stack of books
on the floor.
Proust in blue hardcover,
Virginia Woolf splayed open,
underlined with lead.
A pencil tip lifts from the page.
Her husband has erased
their infant son asleep on his chest.
A thousand-page novel,
between the slats, the night sky.
remains unopened again on the shelf.
The baby exhales through sleep,
his barely developed nose.
The spines face him squarely
when he rests.
Kenneth Tanemura teaches writing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Copyright © 2023 by Kenneth Tanemura, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author