Outside the window, catkins dangle from spindly trees
leggy limbed, moss ridden from the harsh winter.
Sparrows fight for sparse seeds, scattering hulls
to the ground. Squirrels come running
with their scrawny tails.
Today the air smells like the edge of winter,
taut and cold as cables on a suspension bridge.
Sasanqua blossoms hold no scent in their waxy petals.
Tattered by graupel, daffodils offer no delight.
Hope is the heart-shaped head of a tulip bud
sheltered in its own leaves.
My dog follows me around the yard, tail wagging
eager to make me forget the interruption
that has become my life: two weeks in a stupor
headaches and fever and dreams of stripping
stained and patched paper off the shôji doors
in our old Kyoto house—
the redemption of repair
perfect edges straining
a blizzard of white washi
the slow process of renewal.
Sasanqua: Japanese camellia that blooms in winter
Shôji: sliding doors comprised of a wood lattice frame
covered with translucent paper
– Margaret Chula