She sang of journeys that ended though the road continued, as if
time had had enough of being a quiet companion, as if the reasons
collected in our shoes like dust that we shook off each night. She sang
of the king who offered his golden chariot to a fallen jasmine vine, heavy
with ivory blooms, mourning the tree to which she had bared her breast.
Can you be as compassionate, she asked, as the emperor who walked to
his palace, the fragrance of grateful flowers clinging to his hands? I once
laid a crumb trail of broken hearts so a cold lipped lover could find his way
back, is that not enough, I pleaded. She sang, as if she had heard. As if she
knew. That’s a different story, she crooned, a child’s bedtime fable. Broken
hearts collect in our dreams like dust that we brush off each morning. I
looked up to see the crescent moon had turned his face to hide a smile.