Tachikawa Dismantled 

By Brenda Yates 

            Showa Kinen Park, formerly Tachikawa Air Force Base, was a U.S.A. military
                  installation until returned to the Japanese in the late 1970's.  –   news item

no one is lonely
when spring begins entering
bodies and flowers

helplessly hopeful
if only for a moment
in the grip of yes

breaking into bloom
yes yes loud as cicadas
becoming all voice


even Bashō who
said he'd write no death poem
found his in a dream

while near to dying
(withered as winter grasses,
worn, but not yet spent),

and there discovered
dreams will go wandering still
over dried out fields           


At Tachikawa,
flowers, ponds and butterflies
summer grass so green

where once, cargo planes
taxied and took off or crews
on standby scrambled

bombers and fighters
that waited on the tarmac,
where jets roared and boomed

while a girl walking
along the perimeter
of American

stopped beside the fence
to pick wildflowers that grew

in spaces between
the chain-link barbed wire along
Japan's narrow roads.

Lost in her own world
she's still on her way to school
when warning bells ring,

so late, she leaves thoughts
behind and quickens her steps.
No more that time, that

place nor even that
girl, yet all these wandering
dreams stronger than death.

Brenda Yates is a Pushcart nominee and author of Bodily Knowledge (2015). She's a Patricia Bibby and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Poetry Prize winner and a Robinson Jeffers Tor House finalist.