Yashuhiro Yotsumoto - FAMILY ROOM

The father doesn’t know
that the son is smoking Marlboro at a forest clearing
solemnly and ceremoniously
as if in a ritual among the native Americans.

The son doesn’t know
that the sister has been standing for more than an hour
in front of the bathroom mirror
like a princess who got turned into a spider by magic.

The sister doesn’t know
what Sancho the cat felt other than pain
when he was run over and his brilliant pink intestine
showed on the pavement.

The cat doesn’t know
what the ash tree in the garden was trying to say
to the cloud which had drifted away over the roof
by shaking out its leaves frantically.

But the cloud does know
that a white alligator is growing slowly and steadily
deep inside the body and soul of
the mother.

The mother doesn’t know
how her sullen face looks
in the eyes of the husband
and what prophecy it gives him.

In the name of great grandfather’s love letters, laws of Mendel
and salted salmon,
a family is constituted. Its members gather
in a living room scattered with fish bones and bird feathers
and momentarily attain immortality with laughter and quarrels.

Sancho the cat,
now resurrected and sharpening his claws
is watching it go by.

English Translation by Akiko Yotsumoto