Laughter

These words of two, three years ago returned.
— Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, tr. by Will Petersen

one day, Coyote sees Duck walking her ducklings,
Coyote asks her how she keeps them in a straight line,
Duck says she sews them together
with white horsetail hair every morning
and tugs on the line gently,
until the horsehair disappears,
that is how she keeps her ducklings in a row

as usual, Coyote leaves smiling, she sees a white horse
grazing in a nearby field,
she plucks a few strands of tail hair
and returns to her burrow

the next morning, one by one
she begins to sew her pups together

when she finishes, she gently tugs on the horsehair
and drags their little bodies along the ground,
Coyote tilts her head in dismay and becomes distraught,
she realizes she has killed her little pups

“Indians” will laugh about anything and anyone,
no matter the tragedy
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