It was the sugar that did him in,
filling his sky with glitter and sweets,
making him walk like a stranger.
They hoped it was a passing phase. It wasn’t.
It was the sky that did him in,
always looking up when he walked
in hope of a lesson from a snipe or a lark,
oblivious to the sugar trembling from his mouth.
It was the walk that did him in,
hopelessly lost in that mystery of his
with his empty flask and sugary crumbs
and a boundless sky for guidance.
John Newton Webb is the author of a number of plays, and his poetry has been widely published. His translations of Japanese poetry have recently appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Asymptote and Modern Poetry in Translation. He lives in Sapporo, Japan. You can read some of his work and mini-essays about modern Japanese poetry at johnnewtonwebb.blogspot.com.