Gaowo’s Journey

Above a mountain cataract, an ancient nun
weaves piney fronds and reeds.

Binding these with spider webs
will still not make of them a cloud.

The raft she’s made will help her find
the kingdom of the koi.

She strives to see the world not-as-it-is—
goal of sage and dreamer both.

*****

The hoary fog of Zhengkui’s clouds
eclipse the convent’s permeable walls.

On winter nights, her prayer would be
to loose the vow of solitary life.

Can a whole life have been an error?
Can a woman retrace her faulty steps?

On her craft, she’ll put things right.
She’ll skim the carapace of God,

who will gather her up like a broken cup,
spooning her into his charitable palms.

 

Denise Rogers
from her book The Scholar’s Daughter
Louisiana Literature Press, 2008
Used by permission of the poet.

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