Poem: Machiya
by Paul Kloppenborg

    Coming from paddy fields, lime tiles under rain
    glazed with wind, the protected courtyard
    rectangular, the ritual space of ages
    once clipped and clopped past sliding door
    past grass, along paths, by stuccoed mud wall
    to tea and tobacco shared on earthen floor.

    Moving to heart stones, smoked words under beams
    washed by monsoon, the boarded frame
    parallel, the empty interior of feudalism
    once rested against timbered craft
    against the hipped roof, by red lattice window
    to cypress and cedar grown under sun and snow.

    Passing by ancestral altars, past silkworms bred
    past straw in corners, by gables brown
    bamboo and clay sorrows held in peasant hands
    light and air still boxed across ancient lands.

Copyright © 2021 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.