He stands quite still, watching the koi weave orange designs in the pond. On the ground beside him is the fish kite he made himself. Eight years ago, leaving protected waters, he began the long upstream swim to where I am, and beyond. In the strong current of my will he leaps and dives, slips out of sight and reappears with a shout and a silver spray of laughter. In the warm wind of my love, like a kite he rises. Already he has pulled far away. I play out the line, and he ascends — the wind is very strong now. I wait by the water and remember the wetness of cloud-wind upon my own face.
[“Suizoku” literally means “water beings.” To the Japanese, the carp (koi) embodies vital energy and vigor. On Boys’ Day, carp kites are flown to celebrate the qualities of strength and perseverance that a boy will need as he “swims upstream.”]