Meg Eden

Coming Home After a Tsunami

after Shuntaro Tanikawa

Every day I go to my house
where the dishes are covered in seaweed
and the windows are brown and salty.
My mother is dead, my father
is also dead, and my dog is emaciated,
tied to a pole and dried out like a fruit skin.
In the wind, he moves like a flag.

Every morning, my house burns down,
and every night it floods. I wonder
who died today—was it Ichiro? Tatsuki?
At some point, I’ll forget the names
of the living. I never see them, only
the memorials for the dead.
If I had funeral tablets for them all
I would have a house that is a constant funeral.

Some days I wake up inside a whirlpool
of boats and houses and trees and dogs and people,
and my missing sister is there too:
spinning, spinning, her small mouth open
and fish are popping out of her.
Yes, my sister is a home for fish.
Who would have thought.

At night I dream about empty parking lots.
They are so flat and void of things
to eliminate; they have already been destroyed.
It has been two years and I still live
in a temporary house. My town is made of
forgotten trash and donated blankets.
Before our town, there is a wall
built by the government that is painted
with fish and a picture of my sister.
Behind the wall, we are forgotten
because there is no one who has to see us.

Meg Eden's work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, and Gargoyle. Her poem "Rumiko" won the 2015 Ian MacMillan award for poetry, and she has four poetry chapbooks in print. She teaches at the University of Maryland. Follow Meg on twitter.