Featured in Colorado Review
Ten Girls Stepping into and out of the LightFeatured, Poetry
Published Fall 2019
Photo by Theo Crazzolara
Girl A, always Girl A, dives headlong into her own skin as she steps into a vehicle of light, skin rushing to catch up, closing enclosing her, in within the steps the box she carves out the vertical column of space that is hers, shadow edging close into the vertical column that is hers, she closes it in and holds it, holds her light vertical as if those right next to her would steal it, as if Girl B in the harsh sunlight can deflect it all away, her light, a path of shimmer in her wake, the residuals gliding near her as if the desire to remain connected a desire to be part of something, something bigger, greater than all the light a pile of girls could possibly emit. Girl C makes a go of it, moves it travels down with it, gathers it spilling over and out of her arms and Girl C uses her right elbow to turn off the light. Girl C lets in the natural. Girl C is the last one who can prevent the light from going out on that unnamed girl out there, floating, weightless, desperate, that girl who has let go, sometimes it is only Girl C that casts a different light on the story. Sometimes when it is Girl D bringing the light, those in her charge step in or out and they remain transfixed, subject, helpless, and at the mercy of giant overhead fluorescent sources of light, resources in and out the window, light emanating out that window and falling into the lap of someone seated in the same train car as Girl A, always Girl A, scooting over to make room for the delicate frame of Girl E, who never takes her shoes off, who does not yet know about the light beams that will spring forth out of her toes when finally that moment is upon us, finally that moment is here upon us finally Girl F comes in and takes charge, Girl F and Girl I they have their fingers on the light switch, we can trust their fingers on the light switch they are going to bring some light to Girl G who needs it and Girl H who doesn’t need flowers but could use some money and then there is Girl J, having spent life with a portion of her face in the sand, when she emerges, she is half a ball of fire like you’ve never seen before.
Sawako Nakayasu is an artist working with language, performance, and translation. Her books include The Ants, Texture Notes, and the translation of The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa (Canarium Books). She teaches at Brown University.