930 Readings | 2 Ratings

Empty Plate with Sword

     My people once held fire in their palms

Masked as hot prayers. Masked as breath      turned frost when the lungs, exhausted,

                   Gave into the cold of camp.

                        I wonder over the flame that burns inside the body

Fueled first by love, then anger. Grief collects like dreamed-about coals.

            How many felt the sun or witnessed the white light of a common moon                                                                                                               fragmented embers

                                                                        Lifting like words, like voice.

What codes to keep the cold in place as the last exhalation, tinged with warmth,

               wanes.

                                    When a samurai signed his agreement in blood

The pressure of the code of behavior must have been dizzying. Now a burning of the agreement

Most of the ash escaping for centuries—some gathered and mixed with water

            To be swallowed and absorbed in his core.

  And should he disappoint, or politics take a toll, a tea ceremony. A last meal

Replaced with an empty plate and sword—the soul. 

                           Before the painful self-dissection, a poem.

 Is the moment of passing the same for everyone? Words seen not uttered? A bright heat. Lifting.

Posted 03/22/15
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