I Have Never Been Anything Like Pink

I have never been anything like pink
a child becomes a girl     and finally     when she heads for the dawn
there is one long road to M.     from Y.     a bus goes by every thirty
when she missed the bus     the girl
walked with a large brown bag     in the dark daytime
on a road lined with black woods on both sides
when a raven     flew over
she called out, “Poe”
Poe’s “The Raven”     and Prison without Bars     were her only partners
to talk to
even now     she can dream     of that long road     sometimes the
characteristic whizzing
wind of Musashino     carried off the girl’s black bobbed hair
childlike human beings      go walking on it like black specks

even though I call out     come here     I will put you on my palm
the girl     can’t hear me
because she is walking in
the gray cloudy weather     where time’s rain     of tens of years ago is
about to fall
the road     where the child became a girl     and finally
heads for dawn     is broken

From My Floating Mother, City, by Kazuko Shiraishi, translated from the Japanese by Samuel Grolmes and Yumiko Tsumura. Copyright © 1982 by Kazuko Shiraishi. Used by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.