Warmed
By a brazier,
As the
Snow fell,
He lay
Beside you,
Thumb in
Mouth,
Asleep
Beneath
A shabby
Kakebuton
Upon a shabby
Futon.

You dozed off
Mending
A kimono

You started,
Awake-
He wasn't
There!

You looked
Everywhere
In the
Small
Room
Begrudged you…

Where is he?

He wasn't in
The closet
Where the
Futons were
Stored.

He's not
In the hall…

Panic rises-
Humiliating
As your
Presence is,
Palace intrigue…

NO!

You remember
An infant
Half-brother
Gone missing,
Found face
Down in
A koi pond…

NO!

The feline
Expression on
Your father's
Concubine's
Face…

(As she
Held her
Own son,
Now moved
Closer to
Power…)

NO!

You crouch,
Hands
Over your
Mouth…

NO!

(Please,
He's all
I have…)

NO!
NO!
NO!

The small
Room spins…

(Whom
Did I
Offend?)

Your hair
Tumbles
Loose…

(No, no,
Not my
Son…)

The wind
Stills…

Was that
A giggle…?

You rise.

Where did it
Come from?

Cold wind
Tugs at
Your hair.

The door to
The garden
Begrudged you
Has been slid
Open-
Just a little.

Puzzled,
You look
Outside:
Snow lies
An unbroken
Blanket.

Your son
Sits high
In the old
Plum tree,
Branches bare
Against the
Moon-

How did he
Get up there?!

There's no
Tracks
But for one
Tiny footprint,
Dimpling
The snow…

He's just
Learning
To walk…

Barefoot
But for tabis
You run
Into the
Garden,
Oblivious to
The cold.

He coos,
Reaching
For you,
Talons pale
In the moonlight.

You open
Your arms…

He leaps-
Red sleeves
Trailing behind
As the wings
Of a Phoenix.

Wordless,
You catch him,
Tight to
Your heart-
Wanting to
Run through
The halls
Of this
Gilded prison,
Calling,
"Look! Look!
Everyone!
Come see
My wonderful
Son!"