(Image 12th century: Tokugawa Museum)

 

A man does not live

for millennia, like trees.

If he has one wish,

he wants it to be fulfilled.

An expiation

might lay the tormenting ghost

and all his past sins,

snuffing smoke; quenching embers.

Then he’ll breathe on his death bed

more freely for it.

The rat will not gnaw his soul;

consequences come

and outcomes that may endure

for more than a thousand years.