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Jonathan Moya Jun 2022
When her maman died
Marie flew ten hours to
the ancient French village
where the houses
steepled the church,
their mansard roofs
brown from neglect.  
The Weeping Willow
in front of maman’s
weathered hovel
did not match
Marie’s feelings.  
It never did.

Inside the furniture
had aged into antiques.
The handmade chaises
with ladder backs and
unadorned ticking,
French oak dinning table,
the vaisellier darker from
decades of hearth ash.

The rose print wallpaper had
faded to shadow bands,
the town print on the mantle
now almost sepia,
her first crib picture a fading
black and  white dream.

Maman’s single bed existed
pushed into the corner
of a windowless chambre,
almost a frenzied fever
blue room delusion of
Van Gogh’s last dying days.

Hanging alone in the closet was
maman’s noir widow’s dress,
the one Marie imagined maman
would be buried in.  That was
until Claire, the old neighbor next
door, gave Marie maman’s ashes
in a simple wooden box
with a gold filigreed clasp.
Pinned to the dress was Maman’s
will written in her eloquent hand
on unlined French folio.

These cinders, this shuddering land,
this dress with all its memories,
and grief would be her inheritance.  

Marie held the dress to her as
she returned to the archway
of the still open door.
The lace sleeves were  shorter
than she remembered,
but it would fit her very well.
Just beyond her, the country road
with its oaks grasping for union
stubbornly remained a horse trail.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2022
Her mother’s tale of the red string
foretold that Miko and Makoto
would be together,
tied little finger to little finger
by a taut invisible  blood line.
What she didn’t tell her
was that the line would fray,
break, need to be
retied over and over.

In their wedding photos
Makoto would stand stiff,
sincere in his white suit,
chrysanthemum in lapel,
hands by his sides,
close to her but
never really touching.
Miko in her red-white kimono
was almost a shrine
with butterfly ribbons,
a sigh more than a smile
adorning her face.

She imagined years
of ritual devotion
turning the gown gray,
the white high heels into
black sensible pumps.
Her gaze would eventually
never match Makoto,
it would rest on her feet,
turn inward until
she saw only herself
alone on the shore.

Makoto would spend
long hours in his cubicle,
drawing house after house
for others to live and work in.
At home the drawings would
fall into an exhausted heap
on the living room sofa
forming a charcoal pillow
for his weary head.  

Miko would put away
the uneaten food,
separating half  
into a bento box for
Makoto’s next day’s lunch,
the other half reserved cold
for her own silent noon meals.
She would dry her hands
on the old never worn
yellow girl’s onesie cleverly
repurposed to a dish rag.

Her mind drifted back to the time
they visited the Snow Monkeys of
Jigokudani bathing in their hot spring.
She would watch a mother macaque
and infant slipping their fingers
in and out of each other forming
rose strings in the slow rippling splash
until the last echo almost touched her womb.
She listlessly gazed at her feet as she
listened to Makato denounce
the silly animal antics she delighted in,
how he snarled out without regret
“Akachan wa noroidesu”
(Babies are a curse.)
Nevertheless he gladly purchased
the commemorative photo of them,
taken at the park’s entrance,
of them posing stiffly because
it echoed their wedding one.

On the bullet train back to Tokyo
she felt sick and rushed to the toilet.
There, Miko knew the yellow secret  
bought at Akachan  Honpo the
day before and hiding in her purse
would become a dish rag.
In the hygienic blue flushing water.
her hope turned to grief
and her grief became a silent wail
that emptied out, a crimson string.

Seated in her assigned chair
she glared at Makoto
staring out the train window
searching the darkening horizon.
He never turned his face to her.
He didn’t even know she was next to him.
Miko stared at the walls, stifling a sigh.

Inside her the red string
shriveled, then broke.
Her sky rearranged
to a desert. Her precious
water evaporated.

She awoke to Makoto,
saying not a word,
entering and shuffling
to the sofa.  

The gas stove hissed.
The yellow dish rag
laid close to the flame.
Another uneaten meal
existed unwanted on
the dining room table.

Miko, this one time,
never bothered to
awaken Makoto.
She walked to the
balcony searching
hard for but neither
finding sky nor horizon—
only houses,
some which Makoto drew,
surrounded her.
She put little finger
to little finger together
then pulled them apart.
Looking down,
Miko knew she
was destined to fall.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2022
If you wish to know who
really owns the land
look at the faces the wind
has carved into the mountains.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2022
The blind do not need blindfolds.
They wear shades just for us
even as we turn our eyes away.
We give them a stick to see.

The one-legged woman
stands just as tall
as the two-legged man.

The blind man in the wheelchair can go far,
but he can go twice as far if he holds on to
the frame of the friend peddling besides him.
The water basin in his lap is for all to share
for the sun shines brightly and makes us thirst.
Jonathan Moya Jun 2022
It wasn’t
all the popcorn, hotdogs, candy
eaten in the dark that killed her.
Those things just caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all the boxes piled high
and then tumbling on her that cracked
her head and made her a corpse.
All that junk just caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all those clothes hung up on clotheslines
strung through her small apartment
that garroted her red, white and blue.
All that designer stuff just caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all the pots, pans and dishes in the sink
that needed to be scrubbed squeaky clean
that drowned her in less than a foot of water.
All those cookbook recipes just caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all those mops, sponges, buckets and brooms,
the bleaches, ammonia and other chemical cleaners
that gouged her lady parts and asphyxiated her too.
It’s just all that housekeeping caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all those books in floor to ceiling IKEA cases
that bibliated, Dewey Decimated her away.
It’s just all that knowledge caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all those fine soaps, shampoos and conditioners
that shrunk, desiccated and dissolved her away.
It was all that cleanliness that wasn’t next to
godliness that caught up with her.

It wasn’t
all those un-filed files that shocked
her coworkers, just her decapitated
head rolling on the company floor.
All that work just caught up with her.

On her tombstone it was etched:
Jonathan Moya May 2022
at what point do shadows become
numbers and numbers become dust

is it when sunlight and moonlight cross
the eye into our anatomical darkness

when the zero circle helixes into short
existence a rose, a cell, a dying memory

when raindrops no longer liquefaction,
leaving umbrellas a meaningless prop

or the grid that passes over unnoticed
during the slow, long ride to the hospital

maybe, the strobe of light that moves
from office cubicle to office cubicle

possibly the shadows that dance while
you clean precisely calibrated glasses

try to focus on those rain smeared
figures now in your field of view

remembering they once were you on
the half lit steps staring into the dark

watching the three triangle flapping
of the crow over the tarmac
Jonathan Moya May 2022
The child looks out her toy window
and imagines her adult self sailing  
on the blue ocean of the old hat box
that holds her communion veil.
Her childhood dances alone
along the berm’s dawn light as
the sloop plies onto the sand.
They hug and gallop horses
******* in the vanishing mist
while Tess, the sea turtle fairy,
prepares a picnic spread on
play plates filled with strawberry
swirls, blue napkins tucked into
triangles, and origami sandwiches
with the crust cut off, of course.

The adult stares out her picture
window and before noticing
the green lushness of all things
just outside her purview,
catches the reflection of
her wrinkle hands atop
her wrinkled knees—
and the stale crumb
from her breakfast toast
falling to the floor
for her cat to sniff.
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