After Kasuya Eiichi

Michael Bazzett

When we make a wish for the death of a person we hate, it has been customary for us since olden times to take a handful of our own hair to the small shrine at the edge of the village and pray.

—Kasuya Eiichi, "Record of a Strange Tale"


It is true such a wish should only be made once in a lifetime.
It is also true, as Eiichi informs us, that anyone can go to this place
in the dead of night across a bridge made of slowly turning fire.

But what is most true is that the shrine is not a shrine at all.
It is just a place among the trees where an enormous amount
of human hair is scattered among the pine duff and rough bark.

You know you are in the right place when the fine hairs
on your own neck bristle and you see a tree looking
for all the world as if it has begun to dream itself into an animal.

This is when you begin to pray, though with what words,
Eiichi does not say. Instead he paints a portrait of silence and treetops
tasseled with tufts of hate, which has become more than a lifelike thing.

Should you choose to leave a lock of your own here, it will sober you.
Perhaps it is better to wheel around and return home, so the clippings
on the barber's floor or an unraveling piece of twine will not haunt you.