The Voyage

Li Po folded his poems into paper boats,
set them out upon the river, uncertain
they, he, or the world would survive.

He knew the river merged with something
grander, but that was itself a beginning,
not a destination at all. By the time the poems

arrived, the ink had leached from the sodden
paper, pictographs became dark eddies,
whirlpools into which meaning was sucked

& drowned. The once-words spread like
shadows over the gathered water, broke into
waves & set out for distant lands.

Richard Beban

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