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An ocean between us is by Samantha Landau

An ocean between us is

You’re abroad, sending me photographs without captions

Slow crawl of traffic against city skyline from your hotel window

A pagoda engoldened, eaves of cascading teardrops

The unsaid, a sketchbook of colors.

My phone chirps again: a photo of Oriental Pearl Tower.

Luminous dusky buildings, neon magenta, cobalt.

Maybe naming the thing makes it real,

And being unready, we paint without words.

Sitting in twilight, I’m waiting for Mars and Venus to rise

My face tilted skyward in the dark, on our park bench

Pondering your far-bright city.

On the horizon, a slice of solitary moon appears,

Then the planets, blinking slowly.

These days apart have been sweltering hot

Even the cicadas making love

Have slowed their buzz.

I click the shutter, and send you the heavens.

Samantha Landau is an academic, classical vocalist, translator, and writer who resides in Tokyo, Japan, where she has lived for nearly two decades. She works as a professor at The University of Tokyo and is a co-founder of the Gothic in Asia Association and Tokyo Humanities Project. Recently, she co-edited an issue of Women’s Studies on Emily Dickinson and Music, and co-organized conferences on Asian Folklore and the Gothic, and the Gothic and Crime Fiction. Her poem "Since Every Gun is a Credible Threat" was published in the Dec. 2022 issue of The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative. 


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