Candace Pearson

My Life as a Samurai Movie

Ext. Deserted Village – Night

The townspeople hide behind broken predictions.
A splinter moon shivers the birch. Should there be rain?
Or after-rain?
                            Reverse Angle: Enter the Samurai.


No one sees me as I approach the village
on a forgotten path. The forest cast with omens (whirlpools
turning backwards).


SFX: Lone cricket sings like a shamisen.
I have a backstory. Someone has died. I don’t speak of it.
Someone has died, and I have set off wandering.
No longer certain I can save anyone.
                                                All is prologue. Until it isn’t.


[Notes from Location Manager]

Of course the road is muddy. Or, if you prefer, dusty.
Leaves throw shadows in an unrecorded language.


So there you have it: the night, the moon, the cricket,
the wanderer. An air of anticipation and uncertainty.


                            Cue the dog in the distance (howling).


Wind blows through a primeval text, scattering letters
along the path. Wrap yourself in a blanket as you read this.


Int. Mud & Bamboo Shack – Midnight


A family stares from its hut, wondering, has it happened?
Candlelight flickers across an overturned bowl of rice.


This is the middle. There will be swordplay.
A chase through the forest, escape, near-escape,
attempts at absolution.


                            Close–up: A ghostly figure emerges.
Phantasm or refuge? A familiar trick of memory,
fragments wayward or spent. You look at me without
the reproach I give myself. I try to place you
in my knapsack
                                      — you, a field of mist, a single breath.


Cut to: The first ending.                         


The samurai skirts the village edge and vanishes.
The townspeople stir in their beds.


Candace Pearson won the 2010 Liam Rector First Book Prize from Briery Creek Press, Longwood University, Virginia, for Hour of Unfolding. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poems have appeared in leading journals and anthologies, including Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, RUNES, Comstock Review, 5 AM, PoemMemoirStory, MARGIE, and Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease.