a Poem by Yuri Kageyama
You are curled up, tight, still, in fetal position, eyes closed but seeing red blindness, throbbing flesh, deep inside our stomachs, so entrenched within, but disjointed, expanding _ like our pain, infinite like solar systems in the universe.
I was already there in that moment.
We shared in that secret of knowing, knowing you will be born, someday, before anyone else knew, and then grow up and become man _ or woman _ with a yelping gasping flash-of-light wail, the newborn’s cry in that first breath, and recognizing from the very start that you will, someday, have this same joy and same pain, growing inside you and being born.
It doesn’t matter you will make towers. You will make music. You will make computer programs. You will make money. You will make babies.
It doesn’t matter you will be a pillar of society. You will be an outcast. You will win rewards. You will be abused as a stranger.
It doesn’t matter you will witness a great northern earthquake, although it is a once-in-a-century disaster setting off a torrent of outraged water that turns farmland into mud, buildings and homes into rubble, and quiet untouched happy towns into ghost towns, untouched but covered with radiation.
I was there, with you, before it all _ in that redness and blackness and all seeing blindness, that was here and everywhere, bleeding and beating and breathing and being, inside my uterus, that spot near my navel that connects with your navel, before and even after your terrified newborn cry.
This is the same cosmos inside the bodies of all mothers, where we fall in our slumber, snuggling against our blankets, the safe and eternal place we visit that are called dreams after we awaken.
This is the same cosmos gyrating in the resonance of the giant taiko drum, shaking and deafening that we hear and understand every note like our mother’s heartbeat.
The otherworldly world that awaits behind the mirror in a Tadanori Yokoo painting, the crooked road not taken behind that church in a Vincent Van Gogh painting _ a world from this end we fear might be the Michelangelo hell of a nuclear meltdown with faces and arms peeled, stunted and contaminated by an erring god scientists will never admit was provoked by anything other than a mother’s mistake, or else it could smell like lotuses and incense and honeyed candles, sinking into a Claude Monet lake of sheer light and blindness that is canvas and museum walls no more but total artist’s vision.
This is the same cosmos where ghosts with long black hair reside, sometimes standing besides riverside willow trees weeping about betrayal, while at other times mysteriously saving children from car crashes as benevolent all-knowing ancestors.
After all these years, I finally know this is where I return when I die.
To be with you again, all the time, in that moment of eternity that is before birth, so perfectly connected we don’t need to speak or breathe or remember.