"Mandarin Ducks in Snow" Woodblock Print, Ohara Koson, 1935
When one dives, separate from her mate,
death is mere illusion.
She peers through water, assuring this.
When the crippled reeds rehabilitate, begin
their constant arc toward spring,
pain seems impossible. So distance. So change-
of-heart. From above or beneath, how
a body will twist, intuiting fear
and replacing it with here-ness, exhibit of
faithfulness. Wordlessly saying, Be not afraid,
Beloved, for the present exalts us!
Paula Bohince is the author of The Children and Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods. She lives in Pennsylvania.