Sans soleil

Even after her death,
the sister retains her spiritual predominance.

At dawn the Americans withdrew.
Fighting went on for over a month before the island surrendered,
and toppled into the modern world.

Twenty-seven years of American occupation,
the re-establishment of a controversial Japanese sovereignty:

two miles from the bowling alleys and the gas stations
the noro continues her dialogue with the gods.

When she is gone the dialogue will end.
Brothers will no longer know that their dead sister
is watching over them.

When filming this ceremony I knew I was present
at the end of something.

Magical cultures that disappear leave traces
to those who succeed them.

This one will leave none;
the break in history has been too violent.

I touched that break at the summit of the hill,
as I had touched it at the edge of the ditch

where two hundred girls had used grenades to commit suicide in 1945
rather than fall alive into the hands of the Americans.