By Lawrence Matsuda, For The North American Post
In Memory of Kip
Tess, the day I received your last poem
from Ireland about your brother’s illness,
my friend, Kip, died of a heart attack
casting trout lines on a small Whidbey Island lake.
Shocked and brain tired,
I consult your imagination
where Native American visions reside.
You instruct me to build a driftwood bonfire at midnight on Alki beach, near the stone lighthouse on the Salish Sea where silver salmon school in green kelp beds.
Orange flames explode gnarled limbs and branches
as they spark into crackling fireflies.
Smoke sprints North over the bay
like skywriter vapor trails, leaving charcoal
for war paint and petroglyph drawings.
You share a prayer with me,
mystical Buddhist sutra of the Lotus
unfolding to enlightenment.
I strike the brass singing bowl.
Clear like a cast iron bell it rings. Then
crisp high pitch fades to a thin thread.
Echoes call bald eagles nesting
in cedars above the sandy cliffs.
Under a full moon,
above roiling whitecaps,
black and white messengers glide,
dive and summon the Orca pods.
A fisherman king has died.
From “Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner: Poetry and Artwork Inspired by Japanese American Experiences,” poems by Lawrence Matsuda, artwork by Roger Shimomura, 2014; CreateSpace, Charleston, SC, 106 pp.