One Belongs to Giving

by Susan Katz
conjunction
First Place, December 2011
Judged by Nathalie Handal


I have gazed my life away.
                    —Ono no Komachi

Often, I lost strings
in the labyrinth.

I had tried holding onto them,
like a mango’s pulp in my hand—

They would loosen,
wait for release.

Until once, I thought the daisy,
the violet had the same scent—

But I learned to tell the difference
between the pale and the stain of love.


This poem takes us to the pale stains that invent a heart. It’s soft tune dares us to gaze at what belongs, what gives, and utlimately, what takes. Each line, a whisper weaving a universe. I keep returning to “often, I lost strings in the labyrinth” – to where the poet creates a maze with one line. This poem keeps giving. Stunning. --Nathalie Handal

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