30 June, Eto Mori

文字数 4,275文字

Poko


My

dog

Poko

died.


  

So

I

dont

care

what

happens

to

the

world

anymore.



  That morning, too, Saku was completely calm. As a fourth grader, he hadn’t yet learned the term “resignation,” but sometimes you encounter a feeling before you have the words for it. He had discovered while school was closed that he didn’t actually need classes, but if they were there, he solemnly attended. He didn’t know the term “solemn” either, but that was his mood.
  “So we’re over 500,000 dead now?”
  Across from where Saku was mutely nibbling his toast at the table, his parents were focused on the TV with gloomy expressions.
  “Things are especially bad in the States, huh?”
  “That’s why Japan should have sent President Trump some Abenomasks at the start.”
  “Maybe.”
  Letting the half-hearted conversation go in one ear and out the other, Saku thought about Poko. He had been thinking about Poko ever since the dog had died four days ago.

  Poko had been a medium-sized mutt, aged 18. That’s over 100 in human years. Despite that, he had been pretty perky—until the beginning of June, when he lost his appetite and started having trouble breathing. “He may have cancer spreading in his lungs.” When the vet told Saku’s parents that, they decided, considering Poko’s age, to care for him at home rather than hospitalize him.
  For three weeks after that, Poko survived on water alone, eating nothing. Day by day, he grew thinner and weaker, but continued standing, walking, and wagging his tail at the family. Poko showed as much strength as you would expect from a dog who didn’t completely lose heart when his previous owner abandoned him.
  But the final three days took real courage. Suddenly, he was suffering, with vomit, black stool, and howling cries. Saku’s father’s “Hang in there! Keep at it!” eventually turned to “You did the best you could, buddy.” The tears disappeared from his mother’s eyes; she had gone “beyond sad.”
  Completely unrelated to those human emotions, Poko writhed and fought to live to the very end. He clung to the world with an admirable tenacity. I want to stay here. Not yet. Not yet. Not yet, his eyes seemed to scream. Saku would never forget them.

  “See you later. Be careful. Come straight home. I mean it, be careful.”
  Saku was all ready to go, and his mother followed him to the door as if she were sending her son off to Onigashima to battle ogres. It seemed like she was less worried about the coronavirus than how on-edge society had become because of it.
  But Saku wasn’t afraid. There had to be something in this world that made Poko want to cling to it so badly. Something worth that struggle. Something that made life truly valuable.
  Though Saku wasn’t entirely sure what “true value” was supposed to mean, he wanted to search for it. He would search for it, and he was sure he would find it. He would hold on as tightly as Poko did—no matter how much the world changed.
  “Bye, Mom.”
  Above the boy’s head as he dashed out the door, the sky was covered with thick, restless clouds the color of diluted calligraphy ink.


Translated by Emily Balistrieri/Arranged by TranNet KK

Eto Mori
Born in 1968. Made her literary debut in 1990 with

Rizumu

(Rhythm), for which she won the 31st Kodansha Children’s Literature New Face Award. Also won the 33rd Noma Literary Prize for New Writers in Children’s Literature and the 42nd Sankei Children’s Book Award’s Nippon Broadcasting System Prize in 1995 for

Uchū

no

minashigo

(The orphan in outer-space), the 36th Noma Literary Prize for Children’s Literature in 1998 for

Tsuki

no

fune

(The boat on the moon), the 46th Sankei Children’s Book Award in 1999 for

Karafuru

(Colorful), the 52nd Shogakukan Award for Children’s Literature in 2003 for

DIVE!!

, and the Naoki Prize in 2006 for

Kaze

ni

maiagaru

binīrushīto

(The vinyl sheet dancing in the wind). Her works include

Eien

no

deguchi

(The eternal exit),

Ran

(Run),

Mikazuki

(Crescent moon),

Deai

naoshi

(Meeting all over again),

Kazaana

, and

Dekinai

sōdan

(Something that can’t be brought up), among others. Her most recent work is

Aiueo-san

(Japanese alphabet rhymes).

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文字サイズ
  • 特大
背景色
  • 生成り
  • 水色
フォント
  • 明朝
  • ゴシック
組み方向
  • 横組み
  • 縦組み