On Suffering

"I draw the line at pain."
                        ~ Hiromi Ito

Past my sixth decade, and I still don't know
how others do it— take cruises and splendid

annual vacations, lavish their offspring with sleek
investment accounts; talk about how they retired 

and now spend their days wine-tasting and living 
their best life.  For class, I had my students read

a life thinly disguised as novel: autofiction, 
critics call it—in which the narrator flies back 

and forth between her home in California and her home
in Japan. On one hand, there's an aging, cantankerous 

husband and on the other, parents in serious decline. 
In between, pilgrimages to figure out her own unhappiness, 

her children's unhappiness. Their dog is hit by a car; it 
survives, but now it's lame—In this way, perhaps it took on 

its owners' suffering by offering itself as substitute. 
Can you believe such a thing? But I know the ache of both

wringing my hands in helplessness, and wanting to help. 
The wind gusts. And yes, the trees stay unchanged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.