in empty air

Sophie's cool voice mingled with the dry chants that were still spilling out from the funeral chapel. Amy listened, the sound catching at her lungs.

The drum was supposed to be out of bamboo, but there isn't any over here, she said. So your great-grandfather carved out a willow trunk to the right thickness. He spent over four years on it. I remember he let me touch the smooth sides once, pressing my cheek against the coolness. "It is the coolness of the sun in the green forests in Japan," he said. "It is the coolness of snow on the temple roof." I nodded.

When his drum was finished, he took it to the Market and Walnut. At that time, there was little more than a general store, a few saloons all the way down Market. Another Japanese, Mayama-san, had a little vegetable stand there. He sold your great-grandfather's melons, his potatoes and green peppers. No one but the Japanese could grow melons so high up, with so little water. So while the people jeered at the yellow skins, they still bought the melons.

Ichiro bowed and greeted Mayama-san. Then he sat in the middle of the road and started chanting. Everyone stared. Even Mayama-san's wife and children peeped out from the second story window to hear him. No one joined in. Nothing merged with his voice but the empty air.

waves hunch / and crest / in empty air / strike madly on / the shore forever / churn spray / retreat to / breathe again

the word is / the sound / of water / dripping from/ ancient symbols / tiny particles / of merging / realities

Follow us all: Amy/Anna, Sophie/Yuki, Kit/Richard, minor characters or sift through water leavings and river journeys.