Morning Necktie

We present this work in honor of the poet’s 60th birthday.

Machi Tawara
b. 1962


Set off to see for myself
my father’s name
carved in a Tohoku museum

Once the “world’s strongest,”
my father’s magnet
crouches on a shelf

Monday morning
the head of the Magnetic Research Institute
picks out his necktie

My father, perfectly at home
with rare earth elements,
loves Modigliani women

“Writing more love poems?”
half humorously
half anxiously

His present—
Sanuki noodles—
comes stuffed in a company envelope

Something warm in the way
he calls his wife “Mother”
without the least hesitation

He wipes his face with a hot towel
and sighs contentedly—
looking at him now I see an ordinary man

Moving away from the telephone
he sips his tea as if to say
“I’m not listening”

their inability to express tenderness—
men of my father’s generation

Translation by Juliet Winters Carpenter

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