Issa’s Child

by Joan Logghe

Sato (1818–1819)

The world of dew

Is the world of dew

and yet, and yet—


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.