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Sakura Park

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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: Sakura Park (Persea Books, 2006)

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

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Sakura Park

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