I. About Japan

When you wrote about Hotel Ikao to your mother,
eating rice and tea and tea and rice,
you were sitting again where tuners
worked all day on the piano in that “ugly
dining room” you had all to yourself—
commas and dashes and ampersands holding back
the engine of your “tion”s: arm raised
at the auction, the station,
the giant pines moving at their own volition,

to where the response begins, where old nurse Edna
spoons Mr. Armour’s “obscene concoction