Osaka Impressions

It had been forty years since I had seen a cigarette vending machine. 

It sat on the street with the other automats, 
outside a shop with narrow stairs,
in a neighborhood of close-cropped pines, 
sliding partitions between tatami floors, 
claustrophobic fiberglass baths,
and heated-seat high-tech toilets.

A short walk further on, workers in smart dark uniforms waved off 
precisely-timed trains packed with salarymen and shoppers 
from covered arcades of overbright fake food, 
costly dishware, clothes, cosmetics,
all still mesmerized by neon and flashing lights. 

Christina E. Petrides