This One, That One

By Lawson Fusao Inada

This one appeared to me
in a dream, was forgotten,
only to reveal itself
on the shower wall
this morning.
It must have been the water.

That one was on the full moon
last night, clear as a bell.
Someone projected it there.

This one was on the ground,
on crunchy pine needles.
The moon projected it there.

I forgot about that one . . .
How was I to know
it would be significant?

Every time I see this one,
I’m angry. It doesn’t diminish,
either, from that first time.

Oh, that one!
To tell you the truth,
I never actually
saw it, but I could
feel it as it was
described to me
by a blind person
over the phone.

This one I spotted
on the back
of someone’s shirt
in a crowd
before she disappeared.

That one evolved,
and is still evolving,
on that big, flat rock
over there; something
scraped it, scratched it,
the heat cracked it,
the frost coated it,
tiny plants took root,
sheltering insects,
and it rained,
and it rained,
and by the time
I showed up,
a butterfly had just flown off.

Not this one again.
It makes me so sad . . .

I was glad to receive
that one as a gift.
So glad, in fact,
that I went and had
some copies made.

Believe it or not,
this one has a sound.
Just listen.

Oh, boy—that one!
I’ll never go there again.

This one often arrives
in the smoke of incense.

I tried to turn
that one over—
it burned my hand.

This one I tried
to discard—
unsuccessfully, obviously.

That one speaks to me
of space, and negative space,
of open and filled spaces,
and the among
that comes between.

Whereas this one
is the opposite—
you get the picture.

Oh, my goodness—
I’ve never seen
that one before!

This one, from what
I gather,
is an accident.

That one, however,
is intended.

This one took some
getting to—
waiting for the thaw,
for instance—
but it was
well worth it.

That one, well,
you can have it.

Whenever this one
comes my way,
it’s déjà vu,
but I’m ready for it.

That one is owned
by the dentist.

This one has been
proven to be a fake,
but I still like it.

Alas, I lost
that one once,
in childhood,
and it took me
until now to find it.

If you can only have
one, choose this one.

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