In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Three Poems
  • Pat Matsueda (bio)


In the dark vine climbing the flowers to the ten-pointed star in the arch of the hands in solemn prayer

in the journey of the eye to the height of the black colonnade in the tale of the boy who strums the harp

in the lotus shapes of the garden fountains in the room secluded by thick Arabian curtains

in the olivine waves that crash against the rock in the red and yellow roses broken from their stems

in the tawdry questions of the drunken man in the tripartite name of a red-lipped girl

in the song that rouses a sleeping mind in the nets we cast over His infinite forms

One Breath


He casts his large eye on you behind a rock, your spear raised He swims past you like the sun over the earth He pulls your soul away and you break the surface [End Page 82]


Your line of dead fish floats to the ocean floor and you curse me, saying it was my prayer that loosened the string


Lean closer: if you had one breath left, what would you do?

With that, says Li Mu Bai to Shu Lien, I want to tell youI have always loved you

Gaze at the world with a mind like the emerald eye of the shark you pulled from the depths

What would you see? If you had one breath left, what would you say?


With each new moon the lama goes to Darjeeling to buy live fish from the market

In buckets, he takes them to rivers and lakes, blesses them, and sets them free

Freedom is what you think when the dolphin’s eye encloses you

Swimming away from you, he ensnares your soul and you break the surface hard, gasping for air

One breath will set you free [End Page 83]

Valentine’s Day 2011

Falling into dreams is the solace of poets Burned on an altar of old ideas Resting in a grave of ashes Your oft-repeated promises My faith, Casual to a fault.

In the immediacy of a home A cat pushes open the door And lets in the afternoon light Quiet flies on the voice of a bird Falls from the wings of the sky

The green cathedral, The death of Father Damien The surrender of imperial Japan As a bird turns in flight My hand twists in the attempt to make these lines

On a calendar known as today In a foreign place known as the mind I write, wondering if I still Know the language you speak

Purple, green, and black Make a beautiful night Down these streets a procession of cars A stream of grief Lines the face of a girl

Sultry heat, they say Characterizes summer, But might it also be the poet’s fever?

The poet wakes from her dream. [End Page 84]

Pat Matsueda

Pat Matsueda was born in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, the daughter of a Japanese woman and a Japanese American soldier, and now lives in Honolulu.



Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 82-84
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.