Charles Bukowski

The Japanese Wife

O lord, he said, Japanese women, real women, they have not forgotten, bowing and smiling closing the wounds men have made; but American women will kill you like they tear a lampshade, American women care less than a dime, they've gotten derailed, they're too nervous to make good: always scowling, belly-aching, disillusioned, overwrought; but oh lord, say, the Japanese women: there was this one, I came home and the door was locked and when I broke in she broke out the bread knife and chased me under the bed and her sister came and they kept me under that bed for two days, and when I came out, at last, she didn't mention attorneys, just said, you will never wrong me again, and I didn't; but she died on me, and dying, said, you can wrong me now, and I did, but you know, I felt worse then than when she was living; there was no voice, no knife, nothing but little Japanese prints on the wall, all those tiny people sitting by red rivers with flying green birds, and I took them down and put them face down in a drawer with my shirts, and it was the first time I realized that she was dead, even though I buried her; and some day I'll take them all out again, all the tan-faced little people sitting happily by their bridges and huts and mountains- but not right now, not just yet.

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