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Alternative

Alternative
by Yumi Fuzuki
Translated from Japanese by
Jordan A. Y. Smith
Issue 29 Online Exclusive

触覚も聴覚も視覚も
近しいものにしか応えないので
わたしにわたしのからだは遠かった。
居場所の示す意味を忘れて
毎日のできることに尽くしている。
振り切れないまま伸ばしておいた前髪。
ちいさな額を求め、かきわけても
そこにわたしはあらわれない。

この世界をすくっては飲み干し、
わたしの内に陸地を
ひろやかな海を建設しよう。
足を蹴りだせば、しぶきが上がり、
ほのひらく唇から、雲が生まれる。
息を吸うごとに綿毛の種が舞い立って
築き上げた惑星へ
うっすりと振りまかれていく。
わたしはわたしでしかないことを、
光や風ではないことを
未だいぶかしく思う。
(代わりたい。
(わたしはだれかに代入されたい

生きて死ぬ器ならば、
底を通じて満たし合う。
吹きすさぶもの、
降りそそぐものらが
この身を境に裂けていく。

初めてからだをつきとめたときのように、
両の手のひらが
わたしの周りをめぐるのを見た。
わたしは熱ほとおるその手をとって
今日へゆるりと引き入れる。

Touch and hearing and sight as well
register only novelty,
so for me, my body remains a thing removed.
Oblivious to signs indicating my location,
I’ve devoted myself to tasks at hand.
Unable to shake this, I grew out my bangs.
Though, wishing for a small forehead, I drew them aside,
My self never appeared there.

To save this world, I drank it down,
And within myself, constructed continents
And wide seas.
My legs kick out, water sprays up,
and from my faintly parted lips, clouds are born.
With each breath, cottony seeds dance flurries
and lightly come to rest, scattered around
on the amassed planet.
That I am not myself,
that I am not sunlight and wind—
as yet I deem these claims suspicious.
(I want to switch out.
(I want someone to substitute in for me.

If I’m a vessel that lives and dies,
the journey through the bottom will fulfill me.
Something blown wild,
something raining down
rends the borders of this body.

Like the first time I probed to locate my body,
I watched the palms of both hands
roam over everything around me.
I take up those fevered hands,
and into today I gently coax them.

 

____

 

Fuzuki Yumi,“Alternative” from Far Deeper than the Rooftops. Tokyo: Shichōsha, 2013.

Author
Fuzuki Yumi (b. 1991) is one of the youngest recipients of the Gendai Shi Techō Prize, the Nakahara Chūya Prize (both while still in high school), and the Maruyama Yutaka Memorial Modern Poetry Prize (2010). In addition to five critically-acclaimed volumes of poetry and essays, Fuzuki stays active with radio/television appearances, collaborations with dancers, fashion designers, artists, and poets. Her 2009 collection, In this Suitable World, This Unsuitable Me, has also been published in Finnish.
Translator
Jordan A. Y. Smith is a translator, poet, and Associate Professor of Japanese literature and comparative literature/cultural studies at Josai International University. He has translated poetry by Yoshimasu Gōzō, Saihate Tahi, Mizuta Noriko, Nomura Kiwao, Misumi Mizuki, and fiction from Alberto Fuguet and Fernando Iwasaki. Co-author of the poetry collection, √IC: Redux, with Nagae Yūki and Kanie Naha. He previously taught at CSU Long Beach, UCLA, Roger Williams University, Pepperdine University, and Korea University.