You Cannot Stand Against Giant Baba

W. Todd Kaneko

A man can stand with both feet touching

the ground until his legs no longer reach

that far, until the ground disappears.


Giant Baba stands six feet ten inches tall, taller

in Japan. It doesn’t matter how tall you are.


A man can hold a woman, can’t stand to lose

her to the heart’s wreckage. His body will fall

apart one day — a rock crab’s chassis stripped

clean by seagulls, a dandelion gone to seed.


Giant Baba stands over seven feet tall.

When he lifts you over his head, you will be

eight and a half feet above the ground.


A man can stand for anything when seen

from below — fatherhood, majesty, satisfaction

after conquest. In the end all men are seen

from above — patch of lawn, chunk of stone.


Giant Baba towers above your house,

dangles you by the ankle. Your life

looks so small from the sky.


A man and a woman can wrestle together

in the same bed. A man and a woman

and a marriage can brawl all night.


Giant Baba looms dark against the stars, back

blotting out the Milky Way, arms cradling you

and your family history. Listen to his mammoth

heartbeat, war drum, earthquake. Just listen.


A man can stand naked in a foreign country,

can search for meaning in strange tongues. He tries

to find himself in stories about famous battles,

about giants. It doesn’t matter where he stands.


Giant Baba’s body is made of girders

and mastodon bones. When you stand outside

to look at your house from new angles,

when you think of how your father died,

the giant will be there to catch you.

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