Eat Pray Love

Written by: Soulfire

On the edge 
of the evacuation zone
Miyuki holds her daughter 
tip-toeing in pink sneakers 
her small hands fragile 
blossoms opening
to the man with the beeping wand 

They were outside in the karesansui 
washing and raking 
rocks, when the school 
heaved, convulsed 
then pressed into silence
one-hundred-and-seven 
voices rising inside

So now they wait with strangers
in ordered lines of sorrow 
for bread and drinking water 
as an adolescent, eyes downcast
sees the small pink laces and
offers up his only ration 
of precious onigiri

Hooded and white masked they walk 
three days and bed-less nights toward 
Ishinomaki by the ocean
to family, friends, and home forever 
transformed 

The landscape jumbles unfamiliar
with plastic wreckage 
and automobiles 
detritus flooded in a field
where Japonica once grew
while moon-suited men 
and women gather
albums for the living

And after sunset Miyuki moves 
her little girl away 
from a white-taped blue-bagged 
lifeless form 
toward the humming black-robed Monk, his
prayers for light 
and workers burned
exposed to radiation ten 
thousand times too high 

And in the shadows one old man kneels
beside a fetid pool and scoops  
rice to carry back to neighbours 
moved to higher ground, un-opens 
one last bottled spirit
bows his head and offers
Miyuki and her first and only 
everything  he has 

At last they reach the shelter’s glow
beneath the starless robe of night 
not used to wearing 
shoes indoors
Miyuki helps her daughter fold
sheets of painful news into
an origami box to hold
her last and only pair

And in the morning as they face
the stretch of road for home 
to unknown love and losses there 
they turn and gaze toward the east 
awaiting still 
spring’s warming breeze 
to rise with brilliant red once more
new light of wondrous dawn 


      ~~~~~~~~~

'karesansui' is a Japanese rock garden or 'dry landscape'.  Rocks are often washed.
'onigiri' is the emergency rice being distributed to survivors in Japan.
'Japonica' is a type of (short-grained) Japanese rice.



for Debbie Guzzie's contest, 'Tribute to Japan'

by ~Soulfire~