"Rice Paper and Lights (or That Place In Me)"

Rice paper flutters. The softest

breath of air will be enough.

The sky never ends, it is

everywhere. Roofless

is the room, and some boards

are missing from the floor.

The rice paper, miraculously

hanging to the thin cedar sticks,

never really matches. Air drafts

issue from every corner,

and indeed the rice paper flaps.

Some pieces of paper are missing,

they uncover the sparse

reddish-brown wood. Openings

without glass. The light

is everywhere, the lights

move all around, shadows

of big travelling clouds,

shades of sunrises and sunsets.

Fast and volatile they shift

and dance on rice paper and wood.


If ever there was an architect,

he must have been in love

or else with his head in the clouds

when he designed this place.


Not much moves here. No friends

are invited. Tip-toeing is fair,

but flying preferred. Sleeping

is fair, but dreaming preferred.

Breathing, sighing, burning incense,

sitting still and looking upwards

are all noble activities here.


Sometimes, a hard rain falls.

When it happens, as it often does,

it is wise to run in the forests.

Woods of maple trees and birches

surround my house, limitlessly,

and there the earth is wet,

wet, hot and magnetic,

a good remedy to the sparseness

of the sky. The hands

can run in deep in the granulose

ground, and deep

the nude feet can descend

into wilderness.


Sunsets or sunrises follow

every hard rain that falls.

The house has not changed.

Rice paper flutters. The softest

breath of air will be enough.

Elisa Sabbadin