Snow Falls Off Bare Branch
At a reading, the poet responds to the art
of the Japanese woodblock. But I only see
the man’s head blocking my view,
white hair combed counterclockwise, hiding
terrain where grass no longer grows—
pale heart of a lone chrysanthemum.
As the poet cites Hiroshige’s cobalt skies,
that mum becomes lotus on the bald pond
at Shinobu. By the time she references
Wild Geese Flying Across a Crescent Moon,
I migrate to the edge of my seat,
glimpse the side of his face. Hair parted
at the temple, it swoops his forehead—
Hokusai’s Great Wave. The poet shows
thirty-six views of Mt. Fuji, I see but one,
barren land between distant mountain
and shrouded roof. She recites haikus
for the four seasons. I hear Winter:
Snow covered pine boughs
hold promise of green until
a gust shakes them bare.
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