Every year the water flows up to the banks and beyond,
reaching slick algae fingers to the sky:
betrayal of an old one-eyed widow, her son never looked after
nor given a samurai’s sword. And now you have her tears
greening your lands, not salty, but fetid and harsh
stink rising in the bright wet spring winds
through the windows of the keep. The woman inside the pillar
is the bones inside the promise. The woman inside the pillar
has grown roots deep into this new earthquake. It shakes
the woman whose face was pressed against the stone.
The woman whose round body has rotted to earth
in a smile no one can see.
Her bones glow inside that cylinder that can’t hold her.
Her bones call for the whole thing to crash down.
© 2021 Betsy Aoki