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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Susanna Lang

Keika Hasegawa's Hundred Chrysanthemums


Three stems in the bouquet, one reduced to its last few whorls. One or two petals stand at attention while the others hang, long and red as a cartoon tongue, curling this way or that. The leaves stretch full length to display intricate nips and tucks, or turn away, exhausted.

Wind has undone half
the petals on this flower;
the rest are dancing.


This single bloom weighs so much the stem cannot hold it up. A folded sheet of paper supports the golden petals, each one combed out like a young girl’s hair on a pillow, the strands wet from her bath. And hanging from beneath the sheet, a narrow strip with two characters, the ink blurred.

A late summer sun
warms the unmade bed, moves on
leaving a shadow.


Tangles of petals so pale they’re tinged with green, as if shadowed by their own leaves. The only warmth lies at the center of the closest bloom, yellow bowl of pollen.

White cloud of petals
beside the dish of ripe pears—
yellow, slightly bruised.


Pinwheel of red pink petals, thin blades hooked at the end and turning, turning in an endless round. The wind is still, the leaves unmoved.

A child runs to make
her toy spin faster, the mums
a blur at her side


Pale scrolls are heaped around the generous center as if on a library table, most tightly rolled, a few half open.

Inside these furled silks
a few hidden characters
only the sun reads.


Each flower, each page a new universe, this one with stars shooting yellow in the daylight sky, the next with two moons, a third with daily cloudbursts. Each time he sits down to draw, the world begins again.

A man and a vase
of chrysanthemums, just picked-
there is nothing else.

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