As a thousand cranes take flight into the sky Bamboo sandals clatter against the temple steps I turn around to see a glimpse of something orange Short branches bend with the wind, then silence returns. Paper lanterns swing gently outside the temple gates The still night is filled with a moonless sky A blood-curdling cry reverberates through the thin walls It is only the screech of a night owl. A path winds through the trees with lanterns illuminating the way The crushed white stones crunch beneath my feet. Droplets of water can be heard from the lily pond As I hold a lily in my palm, it crumbles and fades away. A splash of water lands nearby as a large koi flicks its tail I look onto the surface of the water but find no reflection Only ripples fading where the fish used to be The evening calm wrestles with my anger. White grains of sand drift around me, Filling the hourglass of emptiness I am awake, but dead inside It is you who have killed my spirit.