Lovers, Reunited for the Summer in Japan

The first weekend in Tokyo, watching kabuki,

you fell unbearably in love

with the throaty tone of every stringed samisen.

At a shop in Kamakura,

I sifted through a box of polished worry stones

etched with the kanji for fortune,

marriage, grief.

You taught English. I wrote poems. By the end of June,

the one bedroom had become a cage of rain

and our paired bicycles were rusting against

the chain fence. The newspapers I tried to read

held column after column

of elegant code. You came home from work

to find me pacing the tiny kitchen, naked,

disregarding the open windows.

Your scolding was as hot and brief

as a wasp sting. For your July

birthday I spread sushi rice

onto each scrim of seaweed, the way

Tomiko had shown me, picturing

your pleasure. I was happy

believing that ours was the only world. In August,

you stayed on to drill children

on "cat" and "bat." I flew home

and reread boxes full of your love letters,

folding them like origami cranes.