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written by: Katy Santiff 


On the day you died, I prayed before round
golden gods, made their bronze bell giant ring,
and when the log-like mallet struck its home,
I felt the way old metals sing--that tone
reached through my skin and wrapped around my bones.
That sound's a phantom press when I'm alone.
I was several thousand miles away
when she called me to say you died that day.
It wasn't the words I heard, it was how
I dropped down, knees to earth--this de-winged bird--
and how the lanterns stained us when it rained.
We and descendants of the Japanese
converged where folk musicians began to
sing with drums and flutes, centered on a stage.
Kimonoed men and women, graced by age,
gesturing with the gorgeous lift of cranes,
rotated in circles around the sound--
this Obon dance for family in the ground.
Given through this dance the chance
to cry with a hundred different eyes
for you, my friend, I danced there till the end.

Katy Santiff

Katy Santiff

Katy Santiff has written poetry in various forms all her life. She believes in densely-packed poems, preferring them to be mouthfuls when read aloud. A lifelong Marylander, she loves water-side living. She currently lives in Edgewater, Maryland with her wife. Her published poems can be found in Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine and Spillwords Press.
Katy Santiff

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