09/26/2021

Under the Cherry Blossom Tree ~ Yukari Kousaka

Translated by Toshiya Kamei

A tiny girl dozes by the foot of the bloom­ing cher­ry tree where my moth­er hanged her­self. I pick her up gen­tly. “Sakura, you know about the hua-po?” Mother asked when I was a lit­tle girl. “The ancient Chinese believed that a spir­it dwelled in a tree where three peo­ple hanged them­selves.” The tiny girl remains asleep, curled up in my palm. I gaze down at her and gasp. She has my mother’s face. Mother’s sweet, sad smile floods back into my mind. I smile and swal­low her in one gulp. Now we will nev­er be apart again.

~

Born in 2001, Yukari Kousaka is a Japanese poet, fic­tion writer, and essay­ist liv­ing in Osaka. Her poet­ry has appeared in Cocoa Republic.

Toshiya Kamei holds an MFA in Literary Translation from the University of Arkansas. His trans­la­tions have appeared in such venues as ClarkesworldThe Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Strange Horizons.