Shinjuku Station


By Kara Goughnour

Under skies black as geisha teeth,
seven hundred thousand bouncing galaxies

lurch to the jolting turns of the Yamanote.
Shoved by white gloves onto late-night trains

among staggering businessmen,
encircling the palace of a dying emperor.

We were blue-sundressed astronomers.
Half-drunk whisperers in the flickering green

station submerged in seas of luminous red
light and drifting through oil-scented ramen shops.

Our hands intertwined,
or around cameras, around shoelaces;

High-pitched train-tune singing
Next stop is here. Next stop is home.

Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian currently unpacked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the 2018 winner of the Gerald Stern Poetry Award and has work published or forthcoming in Third Point Press, Riggwelter Journal, The Southampton Review, and others. Follow her on Twitter (@kara_goughnour) or read her collected and exclusive works on her website.