Two hundred years ago
two walls and a floor
were smoothed
by the disciplined love
of the lathe.

The hands that held it
did not know
they were joining
the axis
of heaven and earth
to give comfort
to those in fear.

One hundred years ago
a soldier returned
from his prison,
but could not bear
the open space
of a room.
He turned
to the corner
for solace
and sat for hours,
cradled in its lines.

Fifty years ago
I stayed there too.
First, I stretched out
my arms to you,
holding them forever
in the perfect shape
of a triangle.
But you walked away.

And I stopped
my exercise
in human geometry
and settled
into these walls.
Their golden wood
embraced body
and cheek
and tired bone.

“Keep walking,”
I said to you
from the corner
as you became
smaller and smaller
in the distance.

The joining
of heaven and earth
would have to wait
for another day.