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Unable to land
on a lonely blade of grass
due to the downdraft
— Matsuo Bashō


Duotone Portrait of a Dragonfly
R.T. Jamison



He hardly registered, there or anywhere. He was a blur, a pastel smudge. The impression he made upon meeting was of a peripheral concave in the fabric of space, a subtle and unfocused muddling of light, but little more. Unless he spilled a drink on someone or backed into a car in the parking lot, he wouldnt be remembered long, if even then. He had come to accept this, even embracing the concept of his translucency. The limpid man. At twenty-two he was soft and insecure and hobbled with a stunted predatory instinct. He had a deficit of enthusiasm, a backlog of intentions. He could never have been mistaken for an ambitious and lecherous expat prowling the Roppongi nightspots. Yet there he was, shadowing an attractive woman in the Japanese market in Arlington Heights. Did he go there hoping something carnal would follow? If he had any hopes, he couldnt possibly have imagined what they were. And so he milled about the dross of a foreign culture, buffering his memories and reaffirming his worrisome lack of purpose. He had gone to Japan an empty vessel. A pimply, pale, and underdeveloped grub on a foreign exchange program. He joined a long line of misfits pouring into an island nation where all foreigners are misfits. For the first time in his life, he fit right in.

Read the full story in the

Water~Stone Review

Volume 18 (2015)

Water~Stone Review

Founded in 1998, Water~Stone Review is published annually
by Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Duotone Portrait of a Dragonfly

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