{The First Time}

By | 15 May 2023

The first time he saw snow, he walked
from the worksite all the way to the housing,

the road choking with snirt, the headlights

sweeping the lonely landscape, the polycrystals
glinting before going dark. Starless and cold,

the sky opened up with snowburst.

He was tired yet his body, as if of its own accord,

glided across
the white scene, the wonder of it all

a magnet that pulled his mind out of itself, and into the heart

of every snowflake that fell. The world stood

still. And he regarded the stillness with the awe
of a boy growing

up in the valley of his now distant country. Life then, there,
was slow, like a river deep in summer.

In Kurosawa’s Dreams, a boy had stumbled on a slow wedding procession
of fox spirits, each step a ceremony, every

move of the body a ritual in serenity.

In Niigata when the evening snow gathered
on the invisible ground, his heart went after

every wintry powder that drifted
in the wind,

his self unable to contain the bliss

he thought he could not have.

There was no time that time in Niigata—just a worker

discovering his happiness.

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