Issa’s Child

      by Joan Logghe

Sato (1818–1819)

        The world of dew
        Is the world of dew
        and yet, and yet—
                —Issa

My father loves small things
the bird, the cricket in the corner,
the moth wing

so I must leave him while I am small.
My name means “wisdom” and I know
It is my unfortunate job

to breeze in on my mother’s fierce love
to breathe a while and go.
I gave one year to life.

His own mother left when he was two
and my three brothers are all fated
to lives of dragonfly’s length.

That way my father, keeper of the small,
the insignificant, the low, the toad, the fly,
the swallow, the mosquito,

will be so moved all his days, that fire
for his work will feed on this sad fuel
and outlast any one body, one jot of a life.


From The Singing Bowl, Albuquerque, New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press, 2011, page 57.