The hand carven rust red sign reads Cat House, the words Cat Jil* appearing in small letters on the left edge. An eatery perhaps? I’m hungry. The uninviting lattice door swings open smoothly on its own accord the moment my hand touches it. I see a pawn shop license. Pawn shop?
“My name is Jil.” Then silence as the slender proprietor appears to await my reaction. “Notice,” a sign reads at the front, “Meticulous support for escape and transformation.” In other words, Mr. Jil explains sleepily, the shop takes “cat skin” or “human skin” on request, actually both skin and flesh to be precise.
“I will explain how to remove it, or shall I say, I shall assist in doing so. The manner is different for cats and humans. Indeed.” Mr. Jil points to the small room in back and looks at me questioningly with narrowed gaze.
I shiver. I sense danger if I reply too quickly. “Oh.” I try to say calmly to gain a few seconds, “what a pleasant offer....” I step backwards out the door and quickly turn on my heel.
But what’s this? Why is the ground so close? My surroundings seem odd. I must have taken a wrong turn, I think, as I retrace my steps. But now there is a cat in front of my nose. It is Mr. Jil.
“Meow,” unexpectedly. It is my own voice.
(From Mr. Jil)
1929 Born in Shizuoka prefecture.
1949 Graduated from the Advanced Course of Doshisha Girls’ School.
1995 Tin Moon
1996 The Place the Cat Lives
1997 Gloomy Dream Relay Station
1998 The Sky Where Elephants Visit
2000 Noticeable Wind
2002 Overnight Watch
2004 Drizzle of Cicadas
2005 Blue, More Blue
2007 For You in the Sleepless Night
2009 A Day to Meet a Grasshopper
2011 Shape of Voice
2013 Recitation of Collected Poems - Farewell at Dawn (DVD)
2014 Collected Poems in Braille - Wings of Imagination Spreading from Finger Tips
2016 Life, Sometimes oozes
2016 Goodbye at dawn
2017 Life, Sometimes oozes
2017 Backyard Swing Chair
2019 Communication / Heart is like the wind Words are like water
2020 Atsuko Iketani Poems and Prose Until We Meet Again