Sakura Park

By Rachel Wetzsteon 1967–2009 Rachel Wetzsteon
The park admits the wind,
the petals lift and scatter

like versions of myself I was on the verge
of becoming; and ten years on

and ten blocks down I still can’t tell
whether this dispersal resembles

a fist unclenching or waving goodbye.
But the petals scatter faster,

seeking the rose, the cigarette vendor,
and at least I’ve got by pumping heart

some rules of conduct: refuse to choose
between turning pages and turning heads

though the stubborn dine alone. Get over
“getting over”: darks clouds don’t fade

but drift with ever deeper colors.
Give up on rooted happiness

(the stolid trees on fire!) and sweet reprieve
(a poor park but my own) will follow.

There is still a chance the empty gazebo
will draw crowds from the greater world.

And meanwhile, meanwhile’s far from nothing:
the humming moment, the rustle of cherry trees.

Rachel Wetzsteon, “Sakura Park” from Sakura Park. Copyright © 2006 by Rachel Wetzsteon. Reprinted by permission of Persea Books.

Source: Poetry (November 2004).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2004 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2004
 Rachel  Wetzsteon

Biography

Born in Manhattan, poet and editor Rachel Wetzsteon received degrees from Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. She made her home in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, which is the setting for many of her formally assured poems. Influenced by Charles Baudelaire, Soren Kierkegaard, and Philip Larkin, Wetzsteon infused her urban and emotional landscapes with a dry wit. As critic Adam . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Trees & Flowers, The Body

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