Wednesday, December 14



The koi swims upstream, against any current, any opposition. It is the sign of perseverance, much like a salmon. One that has never known the fear of a shaggy-pawed predator. It is also "koi," "beloved," just as we say to each other in the foggy mornings, embroidering on our eyebrows and drawing in our lips before we face the dawn.

We paint each carp in moonglow and scarlet petals, copper and gold and inky black. They shine in the sunlight like articulated jewels.

At sunset, we set them in the pond and release the fireflies. Moonfish and sunfish and autumn-leaf-fish circle turn and turn about, gape-grinning at our hands, slender hands entwined and resting upon the curve of the red-lacquered bridge. We drop cakes and rice wine into their friendly mouths.

"Ochiba, my heart," she says to me, "in the cold night let us swim together for warmth."

"Hanako, my pulse," I reply, "apocalypses could not keep us from touching."

We return to the workshop, hand in hand, where we will dine upon green peas and watermelon. We will drink scalding tea, the color of our pond, that tastes of endless summer. Tonight we await the rising of the moon, full and lovely, an enormous silver carp swimming in the black waters of the sky.

For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Carrie challenged me with "big fish in a small pond" and I challenged Sir with "Cor Serpentis."

The exchange of short poems between lovers is a well-documented obsession of mine. Go back and count the syllables. Yes, those are haiku. Yes, I tried to write them in Japanese first, though I'm more certain of Hanako's line than Ochiba's. Yes, I am a little crazy.