Volcano Pilgrim
Five months in Japan as a wandering poet

Tokyo, 1

You startle awake to an unseen bird calling outside your window. It goes suddenly hah, hah, hah, like a crow but deeper, pitched to the range of a human voice. If it is a crow it must be a big one. It calls again, but now it seems a lament more than a laugh, wah, wah, wah. It is three in the morning, the paper squares of your hotel window are still dim.

As you break the surface of whatever dream you were in the middle of, it comes to you suddenly that you have left some of your belongings on the plane, in the seat-back pocket: a thin notebook and a Japanese phrasebook. You do not even need to check; you are certain they are missing. The phrasebook can be replaced, but the notebook cannot. You struggle to recall the last thing you wrote in it, a note to yourself of your dream of the morning before, a dream that you cannot now remember. Or perhaps it is the dream just now that you cannot remember.

            First night of jet lag

                        I lie awake listening

                                    to the sleepless crows

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