Dear Empire [these are your laws]
These are your laws. Having the sharpest eye, the artist had rendered the coast so perfectly, you can see the array of our batteries aimed at the horizon. Delicate and beautiful, blossoms of jellyfish drift in the current below the scene.
And still, if one were to discern our rough terrain, one would take but one look at her careful production and understand the affront of her art. The world is an integral part of its own design—what would the world be without your order? So the law must be written to save the nation. To save us from us.
We have taken her son and his beautiful hair. His skin, the transparent bloom of jellyfish. His skin cool and quaking. The extent of her loss is not known. There are no normal documents rolled out for this. No straight cuts or decrees.
Oliver de la Paz is the author of three books of poetry: Names Above Houses, a winner of the 2000 Crab Orchard Award Series for Poetry, Furious Lullaby, and Requiem for the Orchard, winner of the 2010 U. of Akron Prize for Poetry. He is the co-editor of A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry and a founding member of Kundiman.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation, cultivation, and promotion of Asian American poetry. He is the recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and Artists' Trust, and he teaches creative writing at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.