Rum And Snow

By Yukio Tsuji

I used to run barefoot on the deck,
sit on the mast all day behind a tattered flag
and follow the flight of the albatross.
I once crossed the straits where sharks were laughing,
terrified by the raging black-bearded Edward Teach.
The fifteen of us aboard sang “To the Coffin Islands.”
Alexander Sergeevich,
I can’t recall how I drank my rum.
Did I cut it with water? With ice?

Wouldn’t snow do just as well?
As I leave this raucous old joint
cold snow flakes catch in my lashes
and I quickly sober up.
I can’t remember where, but long ago
I was astride a horse and thinking of a song
when I was suddenly lost in darkness.
Who was I then? –
Tell me, rum and snow, bring back
the names of people I was and was not.

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