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Beige in Nihongo
by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

That’s what you get when you fall asleep
on cold waves of no paradise
just trees:
you drift across Pacific
This time you land in Japan

where they’re so deep, yeah, they’re so deep
All the books say
Gutters so deep above ground
They have to be cleaned,
and the automatic sounds like a waterfall

Will you fall,
will you twist your ankle
and fall in the gutter?
Will you fall for the wisdom
of narrow suburban streets
sharing roof designs with temples, shared with temples--
even if they grow the same subdivision roses will you

Stretch back on the ocean
and float somewhere new (report)?

Originally from Seattle, Elizabeth Kate Switaj currently lives and teaches English in Ashikaga City, one hour north of Tokyo by limited express train. This past summer, she climbed Mt. Fuji from the start of the traditional pilgrimage path, Fuji Sengen Jinja, instead of taking a bus halfway up. Her latest adventures can be read at


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