Dear Li Po
by Michael Feld Simon

These times give me little reason to read
history: so goes the wheel. It’s always
power, war, gold, and exile.

Vague notions of that world are enough for me.
But, after losing all, Tu has set out for the front.
Have you read his Parting In Old Age?

We all end up like flies unless we turn away.
The Cascade violets have been in bloom for weeks.
We should have written when their kisses could explain.

This newly emerging leaf is called hound’s tongue.
The red veins on the underside of the leaf
could fully convince you of what here is and

why we’re rooted to it. Our staying put
has nothing to do with the construction of a pavilion,
Or the endless repair efforts, we've talked up like fish stories:

So many tons of rock moved by the wheelbarrow,
the levers, cables, ropes, and pulleys that turn rebar,
logs and gravel into retaining walls, roads, and firewood.

How are things where you are? We should have come.
There was a time when the water channel was holding,
We could have left for a week, ten days. We should
have sent word to you before your departure.

When we heard, we realized we had also missed
your last birthday, so many months ago.
We can’t quite explain why we’re so rooted to this place.
It seems gravity is stronger out here.

First published in God's Cowlick, 2023.

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