Beginning and Ending at Entsu-ji

if sunlight on moss
xxxxxxbrightens its green
if shade echoes the stone
if the ledge’s perfect rectangle
xxxxxholds the garden
if the azalea blooms

if I stand in no one’s shadow
if I sit in seiza
if the pipes weren’t rammed
xxxxxxdown the throat of Saigyo’s well
if Mt. Agora were clear of debris
if we heard the bush warbler’s cry

if we could return every gratitude in kind
if we could move like the women in blue aprons, rubber boots
xxxxxxin the grace of their paper-making
if the intricately carved wooded figures at the four corners
xxxxxxof the shrine protected us
if we could keep being fed by the sweet mochi
if we could navigate the rain

if beauty could overcome suffering
if the sea’s water could be cleared of radiation
if the air stayed scented with prayer
if we could make a wishxx ring the gongxxxxx wake up the gods
if the garden’s order could ripple out into this world