Day Before Leaving

Standing on the roofdeck,
there’s a specific angle
from which the sunset

frames Koganei into boxes
of glowing souls, too immersed
in lives of chores, homework,

passing out flyers for bars
in the quietest time of winter.
Mount Fuji stands far away,

but there it is. There,
behind the abandoned crane
assembling the district

piece by massive piece.
This is the ending day:
breath of fog floating,

merging with the clouds.
You could choose to think
of where they meet the sea—

when does one thing become
the next? What large part
of this living painting is water?

Until where is it horizon?
And the sky—it has always
and exactly been everywhere,

hasn’t it? In the corner
across the 7/11 is a bookstore.
The old Japanese man outside

who has built a life or two
on paperback and print
takes a drag from his cigarette,

tells himself it is good
to live long despite
—Despite. To live long

warms the heart,
even when the snow
does not arrive as scheduled.

Never did he say anything
about short lives. Just stood there
content to know what little

one can know, attempting only
to blow pleasure boats into the sky.
I suppose a life of books

can never be short. God’s shoebox
of trading cards can’t be too bad.
Good is the word he used for this:

once every five minutes
a train stops to pick up travelers—
people who want to move

and stop moving both at once.
It is dark now; and a woman
is on the speaker, departing

from her mouth are all
necessary courtesies of arrival.
An electronic chime comes on

with the notes of a song
all the city dwellers know.
Sakura they call it; and spring

is months away, the way
it should be. For now it is cold,
but it’s all good. All of it.

One thought on “Day Before Leaving

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