Stepping into the Dark

Crossing over is typically a gentle experience,
so says The New York Times.

For, the body is kind, in ways that simplicity of the mind
favors the newly born, and the nearly dead. 

(What details must we shed to make moving
from earth to air, less frightening?)

My grandmother said, as she was dying,
that our world and the spirit world are mostly the same,
except that the spirit world is a world of black and white,
and our world is a world of color.

(I would have preferred that she turn that comparison
the other way around, for my benefit.)

Obachan[1]’s life was a hymn to a Fauvist painting,
that kind that you’d feel from the gut – all Kaminsky-esque,
with no muted tones, or variances of shade –
just slashes and deep blobs of intense color,
the most violent of pigments.

(which is why, I worried for her when she died.)

I imagined her soul, slipping into muted sleep,
slowing its swirl, dimming its spectrum of colors –
until like a photo, darkening to monochrome,
she would become the very depth
and quiet of her own shadow.

(and, as red fades to blue, in the absence of light,
so twilight might start to become her.)

Fire slowly dims,
coal blackens, into night.


[1] Japanese, for ‘Grandmother’

Photo by Teddy Thornton on Unsplash

Sabrina Ito

Sabrina Ito is a Hawaii-based poet. She is a teacher by profession and works as a Diploma Programme Language & Literature teacher at an International Baccalaureate (IB) school in Honolulu. She has been writing and publishing poetry for over ten years now. Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as Bamboo Ridge, Clarion Magazine, West Trade Review, Coachella Review, and Blazevox, among others. She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks, The Witches of Lila Springs (Plan B Press, 2018) and Messages from Salt Water (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She has only recently begun writing and attempting to publish poetry again, this year.