Poetry International Poetry International
Poem

Kiji Kutani

Alien Night

The smell of my own sweat
emerges from the nightshirt folds
with the scent of a stranger,
brushes against my skin like a bar of moist soap
and flees forward the dark ceiling:
memories of weight.


“Remember the rabbits
you left behind in this room
on the morning of the sixth day
after landing here on Earth?
They’re still jostling
in good shape
in the ark-shaped tank.”
Face pressed into the pillow,
I murmur the words
as if someone were there.

I’m turning half alien:
to my eyes now,
even the night sky out the window
is as dazzling
as the midwinter sun.

Beyond the tremulous mists
of drowsiness,
I witness
the timorous quaking
of a tiny bell
in the recesses of my desk drawer,
set off perhaps by the approach of a UFO.

Wrapped snugly
in a blanket
I fold myself over,
grasp my ankles,
and just like that,
my preparations for liftoff from Earth
are done. If only
I’d been born
in a world
like that . . .

The final remnants of
memories of weight
float up, as light as
the exhalations of water grasses,
and dissolve in the grain of the wood ceiling.
When morning comes round again
I’ll stand and face them
with my grilled-fish eyes
as they scurry
beneath the delicate rays of the sun.

ALIEN NIGHT

Close

Alien Night

The smell of my own sweat
emerges from the nightshirt folds
with the scent of a stranger,
brushes against my skin like a bar of moist soap
and flees forward the dark ceiling:
memories of weight.


“Remember the rabbits
you left behind in this room
on the morning of the sixth day
after landing here on Earth?
They’re still jostling
in good shape
in the ark-shaped tank.”
Face pressed into the pillow,
I murmur the words
as if someone were there.

I’m turning half alien:
to my eyes now,
even the night sky out the window
is as dazzling
as the midwinter sun.

Beyond the tremulous mists
of drowsiness,
I witness
the timorous quaking
of a tiny bell
in the recesses of my desk drawer,
set off perhaps by the approach of a UFO.

Wrapped snugly
in a blanket
I fold myself over,
grasp my ankles,
and just like that,
my preparations for liftoff from Earth
are done. If only
I’d been born
in a world
like that . . .

The final remnants of
memories of weight
float up, as light as
the exhalations of water grasses,
and dissolve in the grain of the wood ceiling.
When morning comes round again
I’ll stand and face them
with my grilled-fish eyes
as they scurry
beneath the delicate rays of the sun.

Alien Night

The smell of my own sweat
emerges from the nightshirt folds
with the scent of a stranger,
brushes against my skin like a bar of moist soap
and flees forward the dark ceiling:
memories of weight.


“Remember the rabbits
you left behind in this room
on the morning of the sixth day
after landing here on Earth?
They’re still jostling
in good shape
in the ark-shaped tank.”
Face pressed into the pillow,
I murmur the words
as if someone were there.

I’m turning half alien:
to my eyes now,
even the night sky out the window
is as dazzling
as the midwinter sun.

Beyond the tremulous mists
of drowsiness,
I witness
the timorous quaking
of a tiny bell
in the recesses of my desk drawer,
set off perhaps by the approach of a UFO.

Wrapped snugly
in a blanket
I fold myself over,
grasp my ankles,
and just like that,
my preparations for liftoff from Earth
are done. If only
I’d been born
in a world
like that . . .

The final remnants of
memories of weight
float up, as light as
the exhalations of water grasses,
and dissolve in the grain of the wood ceiling.
When morning comes round again
I’ll stand and face them
with my grilled-fish eyes
as they scurry
beneath the delicate rays of the sun.
Sponsors
Gemeente Rotterdam
Nederlands Letterenfonds
Stichting Van Beuningen Peterich-fonds
Ludo Pieters Gastschrijver Fonds
Hendrik Muller fonds
Lira fonds
J.E. Jurriaanse
Literature Translation Institute of Korea
Partners
LantarenVenster – Verhalenhuis Belvédère