Issue Seven:
Offshore Sakhalin Island

By Hideko Sueoka

At last Februus reaches the cosmos of cobalt
and white laid out on the mosaic sea with frosted shards.

Drift ice after drift ice brought by the Amur river
that advects seaward Siberian memories

of wide taiga, boreal creatures, and the midnight sun.
Then, to and fro move diffused nilas, sailing slush,

and hundred thousand of floes whereon the back
of a mermaid, a white-tailed eagle, a common murre,

or an earless seal pops up, then all gone afar
in fragments of smashed plain porcelain on the blue skin.

Between cold diaphanous layers, small air bubbles
and bubbles in a puddle are born by melting

the frozen surface afloat at a glacial pace
with diurnal tidal currents and wind-induced drift.

The floes soon visit Hokkaido with endless resonance
of crackle, break, and grind, further ice dripping.

Glass-like clumps teeter, reflecting the fitful sky
with whispers, soft coughs, and resigned sighs

of amorphous water whose low murmurs
call on frigid air and longer-lasting gelid time.

Each sound is each prayer for such a silver view
next winter, as if for return of migrating birds.


About the Contributor

Hideko Sueoka is a poet and translator living in Tokyo. Her translation on photography “Shigeichi Nagano-Magazine Work 60s” was published in 2009. She was the winner of the 2013 Troubadour International Poetry Competition and her winning poem was highly commended in the Forward Prize 2014. Her debut poetry chapbook is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House (New York) in 2018.


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