[Buson, translated by Lucien Stryk]
A sudden chill —
in our room my dead wife's comb,
[from Jack Gilbert's The Great Fires, 1996]
I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife's hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko's avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.
Zen Poems of China and Japan: The Crane's Bill (An Evergreen Book)
The Great Fires: Poems, 1982-1992