Spring Poem For the Sake of Breathing
by James Masao Mitsui
The sky wants the water to turn grey,
but if I notice how waves
play with the clumps of yellow flags,
or the way turtles share logs,
or even try to understand a friend’s decision
to walk onto a glacier
and end her life—I will be ready
for any poems that have been waiting.
The horizon opens as I walk,
escorted by swans and Canada geese.
I need to stop backpedaling into the present.
In my old life people would straighten
the truth, but the river
flows in curves.
The names of my father and my mother
rest next to each other in Greenwood Cemetery.
The distance between me and the mountains
measures an uneven thought: I feel like an orphan.
An early moon is just a piece of change
in the softening sky.
Light is such an actress. Time to seek
Hopper’s wish to simply paint sunlight
on the wooden wall of a house. I am growing
older. Maru in Japanese means
will make it back home.
photo Rose Cook