Before Skin Turns to Dust

They attend his masquerade with their words exposed… And he fails to see them.

He glances at the tanned honey that spreads between the sun and their bones, criticizes the plump layering their flesh, mocks the rolling of their Rs… And he’s sure he knows them.

I wonder… if he’ll ever understand that none can see a soul without reading into her days, without choosing to dance in his old hiking boots, without smiling through the clench of our broken teeth.

see the heart and bone
before they’re whitewashed by life,
and dreams turn to dust

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a
(not so) wee note…
– I wrote this poem almost two months ago, for Sanaa’s Prompt Nights. But didn’t post it then because it was too long to also link to a prompt at The Garden. So, I wrote a second poem. A few days after that, Rommy published “Faded, Not Forgotten”, and we were spooked (in a good way) by the similarities between the words we chose to express our ideas of masks. The motifs themselves were not such a big surprise, of course… I suspect that every person (with a beating heart and a thinking brain) is a tad worried (and thinking furiously) right now. And if the heart and brain in question happen to be of Hispanic descent, love children who aren’t White, are non-Christians, and so on… well, then the worrying gets even more complex.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Tuesday Platform).

“Behind the Mask of Words”, by Cassandra Black
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Memory and Bone

It seemed the plum trees
were already in bloom
but when I picked a branch
what fell—so much like flowers—
was snow.
~ Izumi Shikibu, in The Ink Dark Moon

“Memory and Bone”

January snowed gently under the Wolf Moon. My Human watched her garden through glass, her eyes swollen with recent loss.

“She needs to see me.”

No, said the voice that turns life into memory and bone.

“Let me show her that I’m here.”

Humans see nothing.

“You don’t know my Human.” My words were a growl that shook snow from branches.

The world won’t be changed for the sake of one.

The Universe was pulling me away. I pulled back, held on to ropes made of love-thickened tears, turned myself into memory, and pushed it into the Universe. “See my soul. See her.”

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From a snowy garden, a lifetime away, I see my Human for the first time. Her mouth says, “Our house isn’t big enough for all this energy”. But her soul, the truest part of her, sings, She’s an angel—alive, happy, mine.

Years after that, I’m falling from a boat. Water hits my belly, fills my mouth, steals my breath. But my Human’s arms embrace me. We struggle, but she makes things right.

Then I show the Universe my Human and me around the house, living and doing, being the shadows of each other’s souls. Together, always… always, Together.

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Enough. The Universe stopped my memory reel. If you are to her what she is to you, she will know you never left.

“She knows. I just want her to see me.”

You are snow and breath and moonlight. She won’t see you.

“She will.”

The Universe sighed.

I sprouted as a snow tree in full bloom.

My Human ran to the garden, reached for a snow blossom, and I crumbled. She sobbed.

I told you.

“No,” I said to the Universe, after my Human began to laugh through tears, her warm fingers tracing ‘Angel’ on snow that used to be a tree… that used to be me. “I told you.”

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for Nina and her Angel

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a wee note…
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads: Inside the Ink (Poetry and Flash Fiction with Magaly). Take a quote from the last book you read, and turn it into a three-stanza poem or a very short story… I chose the quote at the beginning of this post.

“…a two-fold paper screen painted in ink with a large ume (plum tree)”
by Kawakami Kōtatsu (1869-1957)
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