Rice Age

A short poem written while on a train in Gifu, Japan a few years ago.

Rice Age

At Hime station only the elderly
board the JR trains.
Youth has abandoned the
toil of the rice fields for the glitter
of Tokyo streets.

They ride the train into an autumn
sunset comparing in whispers
how much their hands resemble
the gnarled branches of the passing
cypress trees.

Cradled in the hum of Sunday trains
they dream in colors denied in
waking hours by cataracts and glaucoma.

Bright leaves continue to fall in memory.
Only the red shift of August 6th still attaches
itself to tired retinas.

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