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


We are imperfect friends, you and I—
each occasionally disrupting the other’s plans, 
sources of periodic irritation and frequent bewilderment. 
I did not imagine that our long-anticipated parting would discomfit me so. 
I am scared.
I had thought about your leaving in abstract terms, 
but now we know the day.
You are busy tidying, tying up loose ends, 
meeting people for what could be the last time, 
expressing grave thanks.
Insomnia lurks near my bed.
It waits for me to conclude my evening ritual 
and compose myself for sleep.
Then, it settles in beside me,
all sharp elbows and stage whispers,
filling the space and hours with worry 
about how my life will look alone.

Christina E. Petrides


A red silk goldfish swims at the window 
overlooking our central roundabout
filled with wandering white rental cars
and gurgling island buses that sink
to rest at several transfer stops.
Schools of pedestrians flash
green bottles and shiny bags
as they glide along the sidewalks.
Delivery motorbikes dart through
the traffic and the crowds.
Old men slowly pick up litter from
among the rocks and beneath the trees 
undulating with the traffic current.

Christina E. Petrides


The pitted date squeezed
between mismatched pecan halves
dares the nut meats to blunt
its desert sweetness.

Christina E. Petrides