This Having Been Earthly Seems Lasting

Notes for national corpse month, continued:
I am thinking about the garden. Youna Kwak imagines it (first). Then she remembers it. Then she is in it, walking alone. Before I
fail to join her, my mind takes me to another garden. There is only one thing growing and maybe it is not even a garden. It is a place in Kumamoto, Japan, where there is an eight hundred year-old camphor tree. Growing is an imperfect word. I bet it'd block out the whole universe if you were standing underneath, Hiromi Ito says in Wild Grass on the Riverbank (trans. Jeffrey Angles). In fact, it was Hiromi who brought me to the tree, and her daughter who introduced me to one of the most marvelous things about it: the iridescent wing of a tamamushi beetle. It was on the ground. The beetle was gone. Disembodied, the wing continued to change color (iridesce) with the light, and how it was held. Disembodied: from the beetle, but also a (freed) facet of the tree. It reminded me of when Roland Barthes noted the corpses' one bare foot. It also reminded me of when Simone Weil saw a corpse through the forbidden fruit. Returning to the garden in Youna Kwak's writing, here, for example, is how the imagination for (and the time of) the corpse transpires through the imagination for the garden: our corpses will walk; when I was walking, thinking of my future corpse; walking alone for want of companions; and then I wander in your corpus as I walk in the garden. The corpse un/wrapped into writing. Where is it then? Has it been absorbed within a disintegration of belief? Has the corpse been unified? Is it the garden itself that must be resisted? I ask these questions yet dwell in their meaninglessness because I know I am in disbelief of what and whom I am asking ...
—Brandon Shimoda

Read Youna Kwak's full essay on the Poetry Foundation website.

testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks.