Who sees the black sakura in the courtyard,
the fruit that weeps on the branch, a tender flesh
staining the tips of your fingers – red as your lips?
Who sees the fractal twists of suffering in
glints of light on the flagstones? Or your
arthritic hands held up to the sky? Or the glass god
casting silvery petals all over the dry rock?
Who marks the hours lost raking these stones
while the karyōbinga
cries out in the dark?
Who sees your serene face covered in growth,
old roots grasping at phantoms in a river of gravel,
a heat-whispered tree gone cold in the night?
Or feels the ice in your veins, your carcass
buried upright in limestone? Who sees your
limbs ground into fine powders – dispersing until
the world ends – then begins – yet again?
Who holds in its gaze the haunted winds on
the hilltop, the low clouds suspended like a
thousand white birds at the edge of the night,
where they never rise
above this darkened line?
Who knows that you once lived a year without
the burden of dreams? Or that you covered the world
in petulant darkness until rising again? That you
held ice in your hands to know what love feels like?
Who else can show you to yourself – standing on
the threshold – thrust between the real and the unreal,
lighting your dark passage through this ancient house,
bright silences patched on the floor, panels sliding open
into empty rooms and
riddles newly found?
Who else knows of its own death – its own
oblivion up there – among the hanging stars
and in catuskoti memoirs etched in ice?
Who else but the bone moon, rising,
its clipped nail tearing into the sky – imperfect
circle, damaged sphere – will tell you that
time, that thin dark wire shifting the shadows
across your pillow, that rippling wave of
dry rivers unresolved, that reaper of light itself
riding on the cusp of all things, upon the crest
of all our dreams,
still moves like a scythe?
Ryu Ando shares his time between Los Angeles and Saitama, Japan. He has authored four poetry collections. Online at: https://ryuando.wordpress.com/ and @ryu_ando_98.