Volcano Pilgrim
Five months in Japan as a wandering poet

Tokyo, 6

A woman is kneeling upright on the floor, back straight, arms by her sides, waiting to be beheaded. It will be done with a nodachi, one of the two-handed blades used by samurai against cavalry, horse-killing swords they called them. It is the plot of something like The Seven Samurai, and one of the men lounging about on the tatami mats is the most skilled swordsman, and will volunteer. You cannot bear to see her head cut off, do not want to see the moment her life leaves her body, irretrievably gone, and so you retreat to the edges of your dream, behind dream-walls and around dream-corners.

Now afraid to sleep, you lie staring for hours until you are roused by a call from the front desk. There is a delivery for you, a package, it is the notebook you left on the airplane, the airline found it and has mailed it to you. You turn to the last written pages, hoping to find a record of your dream of the week before, a dream to chase away this dream, but there is nothing. You only dreamed that you’d written it down. Perhaps you only dreamed that you dreamed it. If this is what your dreams are like, you are glad to forget them.

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