in memory of Margaret Greger, 1923-2009 I. Death Takes a Holiday Battleships melted down into clouds: first the empire died, then the shipbuilding, but cloud formations of gun-metal gray ruled over the sea that was England in June. A scarecrow treaded water instead of
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Station 40, Chiriu: the Poet Ariwara no Narihira at Eight Bridges
What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?
No, he’s already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.
In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?