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Syndic Literary Journal

Small Fort

Written by Mariko Sumikura

Translated from the Japanese  by the Poet

Narrated by Bill Wolak


I’m fighting every day

Even at midnight, too

Against the enemy

Something small

Something big

Something visible

Something invisible

Something worrying me

Something making me sad

Something unpleasant

Something making me weaken

Something making me depressed

I’m fighting

Even now

I’m fighting

With these words 

This war doesn’t end

I should not be defeated

I don’t have any allies

I am fighting alone

This is a war with myself

Against weakness of mind

If there is an open slit

Where my defense becomes loose

The enemy is applying an all-out attack

This fort is built

With carefulness 

I save some food

Waiting for a decisive battle

When is the attack?

How will they come?

Is it midnight?

Then, I won’t sleep

Is it moving now?

Then, I won’t go out

Is it already inside?

Then, I won’t put in

If I have to raise a white flag

I don’t fight from the beginning

I win or fall, the result is one 

I fight with the violence of a Samurai

I’m also fighting today

I hear the sound 

The enemy resigns

And retreats at last

I hear the sound 

of the hoof

An Archangel leads reinforcements 

from a far place

They appear raising a cloud of dust

Even though at a small fort

I should not give up against the enemy

In a war


Mariko Sumikura is a poet, essayist, and translator. She was born in Kyoto, Japan, works as a representative of Japan Universal Poets Association,  and is Chief-editor of  the online international journal Poetic-Bridge: Ama-Hashi. Her translations include Contemporary Poetry both from inside and outside of Japan through the JUNPA BOOKS Series. Her recent awards include: the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honor), 2018; and the European Academy of Science, Art, Letters, International Poetry Award, 2020.


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