The Howling Owl
Published in

The Howling Owl

POETRY

sanpai.

sonnet.

photo by author.

a leaf-strewn playground, fire-department shed -
autumnal motomachi’s quiet square
abuts the bluff; stone lanterns flanking stairs
below the shrine. distracted walking’s led
you here - at dusk, and suffering. your head
inclined, you mime a pilgrim’s claps (aware
you’re out of place, imagining the glares
of locals - foreigner’s self-conscious dread).

the awkwardness subsides; you suddenly
release a silent, anguished inner cry
on her behalf - the only time you’ve prayed,

or even close, a mute agnostic plea
for comfort from the rustling branches, sky;
heartsick, you head for home, petition made.

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