In the storm, there are two boats. Each is alone. Each exists as the sole survivor of the storm. Each is tossed by the waves while deepness swells all around. In one boat, the Lantern Child huddles, her glass hands shaking. She protects the flame that burns in her chest and keeps her warm. In the other boat, is her counterpart, the other side of the equation: Great Lady Afterimage in all her furs and finery. How did she get here — this great lady worshipped all over the world? She is history and glory and regret, and she is holding on for dear life in this storm. Thunder funnels through a gap of cloud. Rain falls down and down. One boat dips below, the other rises above. As always, only one exists. The wind is blowing. Great Lady Afterimage cries out. She calls to the Lantern Child, but there is no response. She does not exist. The Lantern Child shouts and shouts. There is no one. She is the only one who exists. Within her, the flame glimmers, it burns.
Now zoom out. Look over the storm as it begins to lose its strength. It huffs. The wind sighs. The great eye remains, not yet closed. Within the eye only one thing exists, only one thing survives: the light, the image, and the image of the light.
Portia Yu lives in Hong Kong where she writes poems about dreams, memories, and unstable realities. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Worm Moon Archive and celestite poetry.
photo by Ray Bilcliff (via pexels)