Love Story

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?

It was the voice of the air.

And she painted it with oils whose faint cloud blue

stayed on her hands at night.

She would tie up her hair first, as if a wind were coming

as it did the day their group

made its way up Mt. Miwa, and the wind

crossed her face with black feathers

as if something were shaking out of her, to reappear

calmly on the pond far below.

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?

It was the glow that remains when all

the other lights have dimmed.

And she painted it for Hiroshi because he would not remember

how she looked that autumn afternoon,

when he said, seeing her alone, why don't you walk up with us?

because he would not remember

how, as they climbed the steep path, her hair came loose, and

flew across her face.

And what was the mountain Yaeko painted?

It was the skein of the sea.

And she sat on the cold train all day with the painting in her lap.

Finally, in the Tokyo dark, she arrived.

There is a character in Japanese whose radical is silk and it means

the deepest love a woman can have for a man.

It means connection, as by unbreakable thread, and its meaning

does not admit bodily touch.

And it ends at the pointed tip of the brush, the wet gray finish of

the character as the hand falls to rest.

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