Excerpts > Winter 2005

Miho Nonaka


Harmful, Harmless

Things are classified by the amount of harm
they contain, according to Katie
who wears only pastel like an exotic melon.
Under the shade, the dove-grey iris of her eye
deepens while I pose:
I am her model this afternoon and beyond Ė
which crushes the gills of inky caps
dissolved overnight there,
and elsewhere. By the time
she pincettes a photograph in her dark room,
this world will be leaf-thin, drained of all pigments
save the ink of melting mushroom,
and I will be putting the toxic berries into
my mouth though their red wonít show.

The Deaf Dalmatian

After an hour of walking around the lake,
I nearly fainted. Lying on the sofa now,
Iím not sure if it was really you
I walked with. All I can remember is
your dumb Dalmatian. For the longest time,
I believed her deafness was caused
by the dark spots on her skin,
which seemed to wiggle and multiply
whenever we felt uneasy about the weather,
or with each other along the mossy path.
It was our third tour around the myth-ridden lake;
you did not propose to me.
While those dots kept on covering your doglike blurred constellations, we smelled mud,
mildewed leaves, and a few mushrooms crushed
under the feet of unconscientious joggers.

I didnít tell you
I was afraid of your dog, or that
my period had just started.
Once inside the house, my breath is still white;
from the kitchen, a sound of you fragmenting
earth-black Dutch chocolate
to increase my blood sugar.
As I doze on the sofa,
flaming beads continue to trickle down
through my hollowness and chill.
A nightmare might be shaped like a pomegranate
my frozen fingers break into.
Until now, I didnít know my body could turn itself
into a complete hourglass Ė
how quietly, uselessly, these bright seeds pass.

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