In The Spaces of the Bonsai Garden
A dozen dwarfed maples, three Chinese elms,
even a bird’s nest spruce in the courtyard behind
the apartment building where my son is living.
A Japanese gardener tends to these bonsai
in wide bellied celadon, terra cotta, wood.
The gardener speaks to his friend in the bonsai garden
of maybe fifty pots. I do not understand the words
he chooses that stream out into air like incense smoke
vanishing into the spaces between green.
Who knows what shape they are taking
to tell stories: a day at Longshu Beach
feet escaping the horns of coral
or recounting an oncologist’s diagnosis
newly home from the cancer clinic.
The gardener and his friend inspect a plant –
measure its height with their palms.
Their words step over the shadow of hoses
step over the spaces of green. Black inked onji
on tiny lanterns swing in shifting air.
And a lazy light illuminates curved characters
that live in houses, their little roofs
at the top of the world.
What would it look like?
Words unfolding like a fan
when a doctor speaks: yes, there is treatment:
yes, yes, yes, there is hope.
Terry Ann Carter has been a member of the League for 12 years. She served as Education Chair for four years, and is presently serving as the Ontario rep. Carter has three books of poetry published with a chapbook forthcoming from Leaf Press this summer and a collection of haiku and tanka forthcoming from Buschekbooks in 2012.