Joanne Monte


Rings of Passage


There is a wind
breaking with eloquence, rain,

a thousand origami cranes for longevity;
and two women, hibakusha, in a garden

of castle rock, stepping stones,
a pond of blue feathers, hiding their faces

behind the fluttering motifs of bamboo
and pine, their skin peeled like a soft plum

exposing the red pit of a muscle. There is a sense
that here in this city, there is a language

we cannot speak. It's the translation we fear most,
like a stone that first glowed,

thrown into the river, widening the rings
of passage, but still visible, still spreading.

The faces we did not see where the mouth
of the river choked on burnt flesh;

where the willow, clutching the dark,
stood weeping over the corpses of children.

Submitted: Friday, May 18, 2012

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