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Ten Thousand Kingdoms (Portrait of a Woman)
She walks lightly. She doesn’t know how to walk any way else.
She moves her feet like a ballerina: smooth,
graceful. There is nothing defined about her,
but there is also nothing smudged about her.
She is a never-ending line.
She would like ten thousand kingdoms and then some.
She can almost feel everything she wants; it is grazing her fingertips,
and yet, it’s not close enough for her to hold.
One day she knows she will cradle the earth like a newborn baby,
but she is not there yet.
What do you want to be when you grow up? they ask,
and she thinks:
I want to conquer the universe and become its queen. I want to sit on a throne made of stardust.
I want my crown to be made out
of supernovas. I want my bracelets to be made out of Saturn’s rings
and I want to wear the Moon like a pendant necklace.
I want my tears to become the rain; I want my smiles to become sunbeams.
I want to nurse the Earth like a child who never can grow older.
She thirsts for the world the way a man in a desert
who has just seen an oasis thirsts for water. Her mind is an
orchestra playing five different symphonies.
She moves her hands like she is trying to create a hurricane; she speaks
words that cut like sharp knives.
Her face resembles that of a child’s, but her eyes belong to a hawk.