Yokogami Yaburi

This poem just won a “Poem of Merit” award in the One Sentence Poetry contest at Third Wednesday literary journal. It’s also one of the poems in my poetry collection I lost summer somewhere.


is Japanese for tearing paper
against the grain —
like that article you want to keep
but don’t wait for scissors
and rip into the story so the gist
is lost, or being stuck at 40
in living-the-dream, left holding the bag
of groceries or laundry or dirty diapers,
so you hide your stretch marks in a one-piece,
toss your hair like Farrah, and smile at strangers
on the beach while the kids make sand castles,
or open a bottle at 10 a.m., or shop for things
you’ll hide when you get home so when he asks
in two weeks you can say, “Oh, this old thing,”
or spend the afternoon online with men
who suggest a motel tryst — men whose photos
look suspiciously like the guy on page 34 of GQ —
just to see how far you can tear against the grain
before the gist is lost.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Third Wednesday
Photo Source
for d’Verse Open Link night

39 thoughts on “Yokogami Yaburi

  1. Congratulations on both the ‘Poem of Merit’ award and the publication of your poetry collection, Sarah!
    I’m frequently amazed at the things that other languages have words for, but this one is a favourite. I recognise everything in this poem that has been evoked by ‘tearing paper’ and love the idea of seeing ‘how far you can tear against the grain before the gist is lost’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations on getting published. Going against the grain keeps things interesting. That said, one Chinese curse is, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s a gamble that only the gambler decides is worth the bet or not.


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