Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Black Shadow

Black Shadow

By Michio Kanbayashi

A black shadow:
instantly deprived
of life it is
upon the stone steps of a bank entrance;
but it woke
in torment
and went away.

He is staggering on earth looking
across and under earth
and can see through bones of living men.
He can see hundreds of buried bones restored in their instant of
He saw another black shadow watching him from across the
black shadows
that got up to soar from western earth
and from oceanic islands.

A black shadow only a black shadow sees.

The living walk on earth
stepping upon
the bones of the dead.

Those who have managed to live so far
die suddenly spitting blood.
The irradiation
its mutation of gene.
Is this the sorrowful proof
of the black shadow without speech?

The shadow returns
to the steps of the bank entrance
and lays its desperate body
there where it lay before.

Translated by Tomoyuki Iino and Jon Silkin

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 70, No. 2 (Summer 1996), pp. 54-55


Michio Kanbayashi works with the Japanese magazine Nihon Mirai Ha.

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