We walked the stone steps
up into the sky
the cobblestone road stretching out behind us
the busy shops
a sea of faces

my feet
tapping up the uneven stair
toward Enoshima Shrine
and a great ginkgo tree
whose trunk divides like one soul
into two

when we reached the top
at long last
red wooden plaques
one after another
swayed in the quiet air beside the tree
asking for healing
in handwritten tongues
for love
to be blessed

and I imagined the monks coming to pray over
the love and longing
and pain
suspended in the air
that waited here

but my own prayer
was reluctant to come

I looked down over the hill
at the distance we’d crossed
the cobblestone street below and
the tiny people walking along the bridge that stretched
all the way back to where we began

and a prayer escaped me
that I might know whether I’d been wandering
through these years
or that I would reach a place—
some destination

and if nothing would bless
this energy drawing us together
that my heart

let   us      go

Author: A.G. James

Photo: A. G. James

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