An Odd Stranger

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An Odd Stranger

In America
I can 
walkabout 

in anonymity, 
 				
person of little consequence—

not celebrated athlete,
nor spotlighted singer,
nor extra handsome movie star.

But, set me down 
in Japan
and I become

a fascinating object of interest—
a steaming meteorite fallen from the sky—

causing murmurs of surprise,

“gaijin, gaijin, gaijin,”

mothers pointing, 
whispering to their children,

turned heads—

a foreigner, 
not of us—

an unwashed soybean in a cup of rice—
a blemish never to be over-looked.

And there I stand, 
for all to see, 

stranded, 

a tentative celebrity,

without a word of Japanese

in my pocket.

. . . j 
from the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection