potted pink cyclamen, Tokyo alleyway, Shinto shrine: poem by Miriam Sagan

potted pink cyclamen, Tokyo alleyway, Shinto shrine
with a little playground
fantastical panda
to ride
and I, like everyone else,
can enter the gate
drop loose change
beneath a carved dragon
for the spirit’s upkeep
wring the bell
with a rope

bicycles passing by
can’t tell
how overwhelmed I am
by the Buddhist altar
in the street
where someone left
a cup of hot the
now cooled
and the stone statue
seems worn away and very old

a few days
after New Year’s and gardeners
have set out
ore than two kinds of lettuce
in boxes,
the kindergarten boasts pansies,
spider plants, geraniums, Christmas cactus
live outside
although it’s cold enough
for hat and gloves

I can ask myself
did I fly
east to west
for so many hours
just to admire
this river at dusk
this suspended bridge,
I can enter the gate
and bow
as I learned to do
so long ago—
my life
a meritorious
mistake.

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