November 6, 1987 The Braid

The night we stood on the walkway of the bridge
Looking up at the full moon.
You looked down at its reflection on the river,
And said to me, Do you want the moon?
I’ll go down, get, and bring it to you,
A double handful at a time.
I looked up into your eyes
And saw you were speaking truth.
You are all I want. You are enough.
One year ago to the day
You had looked through your men
At me and said, your hair smells of Mitsouko.
And gently touched the long braid of my hair.

Seven years later, I stand at the same place
On the walkway of the bridge, alone.
You left a year ago.

You loved my hair – thick and wavy with occasional threads of
White. Soft and fine as a silk thread you told me.
You’d bury your face in it
After you had taken off the silly
Rubber band I used to hold the end of the braid,
Or after you had pulled out one of the kanzashi
You brought me back, watching
As my hair flowed down.
“nagareochiru taki” You would whisper.
“Sono taki wa kirei desu.”

I stand now in the same place you stood.
I try to reach back to
Those years ago you offered me the moon.
I try to pull together the essence of you
Tight around me like a cocoon.
My heart seeks the smell of you:
Bee and flower sandalwood soap, surgical scrub,
The heady musk of your skin.

Only the moonless night and the green cold
Smell of the river are with me on the bridge.
I pull scissors from my bag and begin to
Cut my braid at my nape.
It still smells of Mitsouko.
I throw it down into the river.
The river swallows it and keeps
Its secrets.

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