On Behalf of the Unknown Women
Women’s lineage chart, in a zip-locked bag, a bird in a cage.
Nursing the wooden floor like a nightingale,
hushed tones of white.
Bow to the statue, deity with sword; the bow, a cut.
Light the incense smoke wafting through morning rays.
Hands folded in gassho, supplication the only report.
Intimacy of robe, like the lineage she carries on her body,
folded secrets held by the undertow.
The monastery, once a sanctuary, proves the true prison.
Authority conferred, like a king to his consort, made real.
We chant, “to all the unknown women”; backhanded nod,
we are all complicit.
Tender hearted, I find the queen inside,
Set free in flight like the phoenix rising
ashes become her new robe.