fatigue of loving others

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What a Little Girl Had on Her Mind
Ibaragi Noriko

What a little girl had on her mind was:
Why do the shoulders of other men’s wives
give off so strong a smell like magnolia;
or like gardenias?
What is it,
that faint veil of mist,
over the shoulders of other men’s wives?
She wanted to have one,
that wonderful thing
even the prettiest virgin cannot have.

The little girl grew up.
She became a wife and then a mother.
One day she suddenly realized;
the tenderness
that gathers over the shoulders of wives,
is only fatigue
from loving others day after day.