Jason Emde is a teacher, writer, undefeated amateur boxer, Prince enthusiast, and graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. He’s also the author of My Hand’s Tired and My Heart Aches (Kalamalka Press, 2005) and the co-author of the parodic action novel The Crunch Gang Meet the Deadly Zombie Ninjas of Japan (Amazon e-book, 2018). His work has appeared in Ariel, The Malahat Review, Anastamos, Prometheus Dreaming, Panoply, Soliloquies Anthology, Beyond Words Literary Magazine, and Who Lies Beautifully: The Kalamalka Anthology. Jason lives in Japan with his wife, Maho, and their typhoon kids, Joe and Sasha.
Joe & Sasha & I walk to
Gyouza no Osho,
our fave rave restaurant.
“King of Dumplings.”
Staff shouts, general
customer clamour, cooks splashing
ramen noodle water
on the kitchen’s concrete floor.
Maho used to come here
with her family when she was a kid.
Chinese chow & fast & cheap.
Maho at work, now, cutting hair.
Rain & then boom & smash,
lightning & thunder. Kaminari
in Japanese. Goro goro
the onomatopoeic sound.
Whoah! people yell, rattled in their
ribcages by proximate strikes. Sasha
does an impression of a startled
kid at a neighbouring table: Goro goro!
Sky-hiss, & a panic of light.
Thousands killed worldwide by
lightning every year. That picture
I saw of lightning storms on Jupiter.
Our house is ten minutes away
but things are breaking up out there.
And shit: I left
all the upstairs windows open.
Joe points out how the neon Osho
sign turns the rain red.
We stand outside waiting for
Maho to rescue us in the car.
Sasha does an impression with his hands
of the rain on the road,
pattering his fingers down like he’s playing
a tiny invisible piano.
Twenty-four years ago I sat
in my Oharu-cho doorway, 24 years old,
watching the sky-violence &
purple lightning over Nagoya.
Newly arrived & pleasantly
homesick, pleasantly sad,
missing Kia, missing Molly,
Those early days: half doldrum,
half dazzle. Earthquakes poised
in the ground, typhoons curling
the air. Things preparing to happen.
Maho, growing up in Gifu,
hiding in my future. Joe
& Sasha, our fated conglomerates,
hiding in the sky.