Bicycle Lotus

July in Japan—so many final exams!
Sunday, I ride a red bicycle
scavenged on Big Trash day.
After yesterday’s typhoon,
the air is dry enough to breathe,
and I pedal beyond the university,
beyond Mitsubishi pencils
and Tamiya plastic models,
beyond the rice paddies 
in shadeless heat.
Sweat hangs in my eye lashes.
I am too lonely to care that I’m lost,
mesmerized by the infinite spin
of spoke shadows on pale concrete.
I turn to escape the sun, and there,
in a ditch, is a perfect pink lotus.
Even without touching the petals,
without a sip of tea
pounded from its roots,
its healing power
releases me from my trance.
I photograph it, and remember
where I live.

Published in Turtle Island Quarterly
and in the chapbook Bicycle Lotus