distance

February 12, 2007

My distant cousin
lived in Japan as a Samurai princess
for a while, learning the black arts
of silence and aesthetics

until you would swear if you saw her
that she was no longer a girl
but maybe a new moon
or a shining facet of glass.

She loved a man who went to war
thinking himself a child of the sun.
But if so he was a lesser star
to be plucked by the fingers of a woken giant
and doused in the ocean,
where he did not sizzle, or scream.

She told me once that every breath
was in us already;
so, with the right tools
we could measure the distance of death
from the living.

Then she laughed and said
you know that’s nonsense, of course,
but what’s the truth ever done for me?

Now she walks in winter on a frozen lake;
and, reflecting the stillness of her loss,
the world spins under her for miles.
Her feet refuse to touch the surface
that has hardened over her flame.


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