The Bridge in the Rain

by Alyss Dye

after Hiroshige

Curse this rain!
It pierces me like needles on my back.
Why did the mistress summon me on a morning like this,
making me cross the bridge over the river?
I have to hop like a frog ridiculously from side to side
to avoid the puddles.

Not that it’s much fun sitting in my hut.
The rain dripped through that gap
in the banana leaves all night.
Ping – ping – ping in the metal basin.
It’s been driving me mad.

What can she want that’s so urgent?
If I were to risk taking off my hat,
I bet I’d see her peering out from her little window
in the palace. – That white face, like a child’s
that stops my heart.

Hurry up there you two old biddies,
worrying about keeping your skirts out of the wet
when I need to get past!
It must be serious for her to summon me
in this weather.

Perhaps her lord has finally gone to the war
in the far country and not written her a letter
for two days. Or her small dog is sick.
Or she needs me to prepare the radishes for supper.
I’m coming, mistress, I’m coming!