Walking in Tokyo
Jalina Mhyana

There are flowers crowning
a solitary trash can on a Harajuku curb,
accidental ikebana artfully arranged for death
after the gold-laquered funeral hearse
has returned to its garage.

In a year the family will welcome
its dead home with a feast
and a bonfire in the driveway, in case
the spirit loses direction, the way
we have this weekend, searching
for a fire we’ve returned to again and again.

We pick our way through this cornucopia
of petals, two American lovers
sensing something fleeting, and wasted,
untangling stem from stalk.
Black-haired girls in school uniform
hold their giggles in their hands

while they watch us collect pert cherry
blossoms and thick-skirted peonies, budded
taut as nipples, the same color
as my lips, also budded,
coaxing you with unripened words.

You cut their green knees
because I asked you to, nothing else,
stolen flowers in my hands
easing my need to hold your body,
something sacred, sacrificial—

the pocketknife slick with green blood
folds and unfolds like legs in front of you.
You’re cutting slits in the city air
so you can hide from me
on the other side of it.

Far behind you, my twig of cherry blossoms
loses its petals in my hands, wand-like,
the wind stealing my tissue-light wishes
to pink the sidewalk behind us.