Closest visual approximation (from the back).
Closest visual approximation (from the back).

Friendly eyes and modern shoes,

Her hair is lines drawn by

An architect’s hands on white paper.

She buoys like foamy waves

Across a grassy ocean current.

This woman heralds spring with

Butterfly kisses to the sky

And the gentle ring of the bells

She hangs from iron in her throat.

Her story isn’t from the works of

Browning or Grimm, but perhaps

She has snatched a few verses

From their prose thinking it was

Something rosier from her

Childhood of polished deceit.

The woman helps those without

Understanding of the feudal code

Governing the clans and serfs,

Guiding them with red scarves

And distilled heresy of those

Who would be deemed earthbound.

Others steal her atmosphere with

Their glass eyes and stone jeers,

Seeing her with those in the singular

Who should be joined in plural,

But most importantly, they say,

Crooning at night with poker hands

Of foreign hordes that would have

Been once terrified of what their

Particular hordes would forecast.

Directionless the compass points

In her purse’s pocket third from the right,

Next to the lipstick and modern things

That make her stick out from the sod

Like a sprout of stardust or hemlock

That others fear they must drink,

Robbing them not of life but livelihood,

As the monstrous train of steel

And coal and other gems excavated

From strip-mine dreams locks away

Rolling hills in television dramas.

Composed 07/16/2012

Author’s Note: The Japanese have a saying that goes something along the lines “The nail that sticks out the most is first to get hammered.” In a largely homogenous society, fraternizing too frequently with foreigners may cast you in a suspicious light, especially if you’re from a remote and isolated village. That’s not to say this happens all the time, but for the person I observed for this poem, there were more negative whispers than positive one.

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