The End of Summer by Kiji Kutani translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

As I stared helplessly
at the reflection of my own face
in the large curved bowl
at the end of a spoon,
summer vacation
drew fully to an end.
A warmth precisely like that
in a television just switched off
lay in my belly
as I stood up, swaying.
Walking over the scraps of paper
my little sister left scattered under the table,
the memory of dizziness I felt while traveling
came rushing lightly back.
Holding my head,
heavy now as a wet rag,
I lay myself down for a last time
on the old tatami mats.
Gradually I fill with quiet,
as I do when some work given to me to do in this world
is taken away.
I must have aged thirty years
this summer vacation:
gently applying a sweat-soaked fingertip
to the corpse of a bumblebee
lacking one wing,
I murmur this to myself.
The chorus of cicadas vibrating the screen door
suddenly picks up in intensity —
as if to transport me
back to the entrance to summer.

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