Yoko Danno


                               Praise to Hayagriva!
horse-headed Kannon, the goddess of mercy
                            with three wrathful faces

For a week my sister wouldn't talk to me because I was two hours late for an appointment. My daughter blamed me because I had planted cucumbers instead of pansies in her flower garden. My husband blew his top because I reproached him for having lost a piece of my jigsaw puzzle. A total misunderstanding―actually I had lost it. Ashamed of myself, I clasped a kitchen knife tightly. I had nothing to hold onto within reach.

I dashed out of the house like a racehorse, repeating a sentence in my mind, "Once the connection between man and horse is broken, when the heart skips a beat, and the fence to be cleared looms high." I run on, heading for the mouth of the river so that I could let all my sins and worries flow away along with my shoes and clothes and underwearjust like our ancient people would have done in a purification ceremony.  

Later I returned to the house. Through the kitchen window, a breeze was streaming in. The homeless cat came punctually to his favorite spot in the shade of a full-blown azalea and lay down. The live picture beyond the window frame was given a bright finishing touch when the sun came out from behind the clouds. I was cutting chives to make noodle soup for lunch. I felt slightly uneasy when I realized I had not felt this kind of perfection for a long time.

If only I could find the missing piece of my jigsaw. Would the world be changed? Would the harmonious whole once hurt be restored? I have cut chives a thousand times in my life. I have watched the clouds break and reveal the sun, which is nothing out of the ordinary. I have often seen the stray cat sitting under a blossoming tree. But I have never experienced perfect harmony―on the verge of falling apart with the smallest of actions.  

"Keep your wound open," a lama once said. "How can you feel the faintest breeze if a scab has formed over it?" Wishing to sustain the precarious moment as long as possible, I froze. The breeze dropped. The breathless silence was broken by the shrill call of a butcher-bird. The cat rose and bristled. Somehow relieved, I resumed cutting chives, with an approving smile. A thin cloud was brushing over the sun.

Yoko Danno

Yoko Danno was born, raised, and educated in Japan.  A graduate of Kobe College, she has been writing poetry solely in English for more than 40 years.  In addition to being a poet, she is also a translator and the editor of the Ikuta Press in Kobe, Japan.  Her poetry has been published in various journals, anthologies, and magazines in the US, Canada, and Japan, and she is the author of four books of poetry, including Epitaph for Memories, published in 2002 by the Bunny and Crocodile Press.  Her fifth book of poetry, a jointly-written poetic experiment with the American poet James C. Hopkins, entitled The Blue Door, was published in July of 2006 by the Word Works press in Washington, DC.



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Karren Alenier

Jon Ballard

Virginia Bell

Bruce Bennett

Sarah Bonifacio

Sarah Browning

Jared Carter

John Thomas Clark

Jennifer Pruden Colligan

Claire Crabtree

Yoko Danno

Anthony DiMatteo

Robert Farnsworth

Carol Frith

Martin Galvin

Jen Garfield

Do Gentry

John Grey

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Lori Romero

Janice D. Soderling

Sandra Staas

Paul Kareem Tayyar

Naomi Thiers

Davide Trame

Jean Tupper

R.J. Van Zandt

Sharlie West

Barbara M. White

Terence Winch

Kathi Wolfe

Ernie Wormwood

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