Paper Lanterns

Paper Lanterns

The self was invented
after it was discovered
that rocks plummet back to earth
when tossed towards the sky,
and that all laws are the same
whether inside or out.
But this is assuming
that the self should be like a stone
and not a bird or flower,
a petal-light charm
drifting casually through morning.
This is assuming that the person
who rises in sleep
towards the midnight clouds
is an illusion,
and that in our moments of grace
when happiness breaks the pattern
of our anger, we are not experiencing
the wilder breath of truth,
but simply a lapse in nature.
The self then, is a clear bag
we filled with sand.
We’ve been carrying the weight for so long
we forget it can be emptied.
That it can just as easily be filled
with wind and light,
ascending into the darkness
like a paper lantern
released over the dreaming lake.


Seth Jani lives in Seattle, WA and is the founder of Seven CirclePress. Their work has appeared in The American Poetry JournalChiron ReviewRust+Moth and Pretty Owl Poetry, among others. Their full-length collection, Night Fable, was published by FutureCycle Press in 2018.

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