Noh Theater

I. The One Who Acts (shite)

After the violence of being born,

I was cradled by strangers.

I would not know this until later.

I flexed my hands

without knowing I had hands.

I opened my mouth to cry and to receive.

Not much has changed. Creation still requires

its measure of blood and labor.

I still sleep in the arms of strangers

and refuse to know the power

of my hands. I am still missing

parts of myself I cannot name.

II. The One Who Watches (waki)

You were never limping, nor half-alive.

You blazed into the world,

ears perked for your mother's screaming.

Strangers draw close to you

because your heart is a moveable fire,

burning the edge off the nighttime.

I am not saying

you should be ashamed.

III. The One Who Acts (shite)

My mother's second child, close at my heels,

would have also been a girl

but I tore past her and snapped her neck

on the cord. While I opened my mouth

to cry and to receive,

she was removed in a ruined body.

I am a sister of loss, a killer, a god.