One Word Reveals Itself a ButterflyPoetry
One Word Reveals Itself a Butterfly
One chair is an invitation—two
an interrogation. The two black
chairs left as a threat in the alley
outside your house is what I feared
when you left for Tibet last spring.
I worried you might be disappeared,
the two chairs opened like wings
of a terrible flight.
Now that you are returning to Beijing
I worry about you again—
your friends have been taken,
the lawyers are gone.
What I have are the words
you send, and I translate
these few details of your life—
you see a cloud in the form of a yak,
and it becomes Tibet.
A distant fire becomes a person
whose only voice is flame.
Each image opens to its paired other.
Your words are filled with the urgent present.
By the time I receive them,
the days have passed.
They are shadows to your days.
Though sometimes one word
reveals itself a butterfly:
a single word, and the butterfly opens.
A dream. I meet you
where our realities intersect.
We face one chair to another
and meet without fear.
A single word opens the butterfly-me
who flies to butterfly-you. The wings.
Every word is inscribed with words
in the future of consequence.
Each butterfly a four-page book,
the Four Noble Truths written
on its wings:
opening to suffering and desire;
closing to elimination and emancipation.
The way is written
in the dust of their wings.
December 29, 2018
—Ian Boyden 2018年12月29日