The man I was learning Japanese from
killed himself, his wife found his body.
Called to tell me about plans for the wake.
She’d heard from him I was studying poetry,
asked me to read something for his funeral.
I think about the yellow hat that sat on
his desk surrounded by books written
in Japanese. Little figures won from vending
machines left to guard against the dust
and the abrasions where his wrists wore away
the finish. I look at my desk, see my
books and figures lining the top,
and circles where my own wrists
ate away the varnish— each an exploded
star swallowing everything around it.
Donald Paris graduated from Queens University of Charlotte’s Creative Writing MFA program. His work has appeared in The Other Journal, Sonic Boom, and Public Pool. He can be followed on Twitter @DonaldParis