The Pitch

Dripping excitedly from my earlobes
And falling over my crowded routines
A rain of Lucretius’ atoms
Is just beginning to fall
Drinking in the few drops
Of my field of understanding
With sleepy dissonance

The trembling world and forest of umbrellas
Run together in a surface
Transcending the constant noise and
Dreamy sounds of compressors
Quiet and calm as a field of rape blossoms

A small dog howls
A small girl hits it
A small drop of rain soaks into her hair
A small elementary schoolyard where
A small voice hums

Listen carefully and in these noises
Is a clear musical pitch

A powerful poison is mixed
Into your sigh

On the street corners are bags of air
Each time they float up
Then breathe
The stoplights decompose
And form a circle
Leaving only red rust

A congealed line of airplane exhaust
Falls into the sky
Severing the space between
Between today’s date
And the sighing stones beneath my feet
No time to straighten its posture
The insouciant sun sets

You call out
In the interval between fixed motions exaggerated
At the base of a mountain range
Formed of universal buildings

Just look up

In cold, bright darkness
The sun overflows in avarice
Laughing at me
As I prick up my ears
In speechless wonder


was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1970 and was educated at Waseda University. Her first book of poetry Onsoku Heiwa (Sonic Peace) was published in 2005 and the following year was awarded the Nakahara Chuya Poetry Prize. Her second book of poetry Zekkyo (Border Z) was published in 2008 and was awarded the Bansui Poetry Prize. She has also written a volume of essays on the problems facing contemporary Japanese youth.

Jeffrey Angles is an associate professor of Japanese and translation at Western Michigan University. He is the author of Writing the Love of Boys: Origins of Bishōnen Culture in Japanese Modernist Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2011) and translator of Killing Kanoko: Selected Poems of Itō Hiromi (Action Books, 2009), the award-winning Forest of Eyes: Selected Poems of Tada Chimako (University of California Press, 2010), and numerous other works of prose and poetry. He also writes poetry in his second language, Japanese.



February 2015

In bed with the radio

Péter Závada

TR. Mark Baczoni


February 2015

IN BED WITH THE RADIO   You’d turned against me. There’s safety in knowing, I thought. Like lying in...


March 2017

The Urban Cyclist

Daniel Galera

TR. Alison Entrekin


March 2017

No terrain is impossible for the Urban Cyclist. His powerful legs drive the pedals down in alternation, right, left,...


August 2017

Interview with Ottessa Moshfegh

Yen Pham


August 2017

Ottessa Moshfegh’s first two books are, as she tells me, very different from one another. But despite the contrast...


Get our newsletter


* indicates required