Needle at the bottom of the sea

“When you pluck the needle from the bottom of the sea, it means a transformation of human destiny.” ~ Tai Chi Ch’uan

The women in the park gather
to braid whips out of air: together

they windmill the idea of clouds
as though they were portals

to another world not made
out of weapons and tears.

Who holds the keys to kingdoms
and countries with no names,

where no despots or madmen reign?
In the mail, once, I received

a twist of silk, a scarf the color
of flame. Unseamed, it weighed next

to nothing in my hands, not even
when circled around my neck.

And I understand perfectly
how we weigh next to nothing too

in the grand scheme of things—
Yet we look for the slightest

tremble in the bones of the fallen
bird, for the dead to be returned

their souls; for the fist of a bud
to crack through a sea of stone.

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