Church bells cried out at the end
by Sayumi Takahashi
of her song, and suddenly each dawn
was present, leaping over the alleyway
ravine. Across the scaffolding
a lady sings fairy tales to orchids
in her window.
My mother cursed the lilacs.
Death, she said, begins with first heartbreak.
Until then, time lacks the echo
of final rhyme, and you steal miracles
with every breath, arms wide against the Gospel.
But this woman surprises maternity,
incongruously complete with her flowers.
Her apartment mimics the rose window
of some unfinished cathedral. Her hips
deathless, an hourglass to trace
Mother died after falling,
pelvic bone crumbling for milk. None
of the king's men came with agave bouquets.
I watched a unicyclist beyond the hospital curtain.
He tottered over abrupt spokes like an allegory
of aloneness, addicted to some craven absence.
Today my toes nuzzle the granite veranda.
All petals open to listen.
I wonder whether I could be Peter
and she my missing shadow,
stitching sunrises in an accidental language. Pray,
water my gloom until heaven blooms
behind your lattice ledge.
The Book is ending
in this glass desert and I have not met
my neighbor. Her fingertips touch the clearness
as if to wave. As if to say, I too have a mother
and a Bible. Every 99th letter, a misprint
made us human. I open my fist,
palm pressed against the pane.
Our hands, the color of sand,
blossoming after one hundred years.