Poem for Kokura after hanami


Kokura, Japan, in the middle of April,
there are cherry blossoms, like faces,
eddying in alleys, swirling on pavement
and in tight spiral trails behind bicycle tires.

The faces fall sad, their time, too soon.
The wind, greedy, plucks them off branches,
and sails them out over the water.
The Purple river is covered, calmed by blossoms,

You can walk on this river,
your small face held above the current,
until you reach the delta,
and your thin time of standing ends.

Blossoms part, undone by wide water.
Then a day comes when all the faces,
gathered in by moons of tides,
are thrown up by waves that break and slide.

And the sea’s purple rivers run backward,
in the secret fullness of night, carrying thoughts
that roll up roots and are pressed out, pearled
and bright, waiting, and made for the sun.

Which comes in time, stronger than wind,
to all the resurrected faces, not one missed.





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