An Ode to Transparent Umbrellas

There is something about
transparent umbrellas
that gets me every time.

I first saw one in Ginza,
a Hello Kitty neighbourhood,
far too posh for us.

One minute it was blue skies
and then the rains came down
like locusts, but better behaved.

DP bought our first clear umbrella
at the Family Mart near our hotel.

“Brilliant” we thought.
“You can see everyone around you…
nobody loses an eye.”
{Everyone with a child
or a childhood
understands the significance of this.}

The Japanese… they know what they’re doing.
If you’ve been here, you know this.
If not, you’ll have to trust me.

Now that we live here
I love to take photos of people
walking with their umbrellas.

{I acknowledge this is an odd little habit.}

I’m especially fond of the clear umbrella.
I can see the face of the umbrella-person
because it lets the light get through.

The clear umbrella is practical in the extreme.
Durable and disposable.
Contradictions persist in Japan.

Recently,
over drinks,
my umbrella confessed
it had been owned by 58 people
over three short years.
Each one found the umbrella
on a train or in a cafe,
abandoned
when the clouds disappeared.
I want to promise fidelity
to my umbrella
but who can tell?

This same seven dollar umbrella
could have blown inside out
on the first afternoon
of its short umbrella-life.
The site of its suicide:
a bridge over a canal
that starts at the sea.

The transparent umbrella
protects us from the rain
but leaves us
so wonderfully vulnerable.

Mostly dry.
Entirely visible.
Like life.

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