The gate

When first I came into the world,
I wept at the sting of light
and steel that cut me as I gasped.

The black rain kindled a quiet
fire in the window, and I listened
to a distance that had no language.

That was the 50’s, when Asia
slept beneath a drizzle of ash
that had been falling since the war.

When I first learned of heaven,
it was something we lost, or was
loss simply the word we gave it.

When I heard my nation’s stories,
they were the words of a father
who gave me words. I was what I feared.

If there is a pearl gate up there,
I see it as a guillotine
that chooses its friends carefully.

The eye of the needle, the narrow
passage, they would straighten us.
The sound of rain would make us open.