Slanting light casts onto a stucco wall the shadows of upwardly zigzagging plum branches. I can see the thinning of branches to the very twig. I have to sift what you say, what she thinks, what he believes is genetic strength, what they agree is inevitable. I have to sift this quirky and lashing stillness of form to see myself, even as I see laid out on a table for Death an assortment of pomegranates and gourds. And what if Death eats a few pomegranate seeds? Does it insure a few years of pungent spring? I see one gourd, yellow from midsection to top and zucchini-green lower down, but already the big orange gourd is gnawed black. I have no idea why the one survives the killing nights. I have to sift what you said, what I felt, what you hoped, what I knew. I have to sift death as the stark light sifts the branches of the plum.
A woman moves through a Cloud Hands position,
holding and rotating
an invisible globe—thud, shattering glass, moan,
horn blast—so many
worlds to this world—two men dipnet
at the mouth of a river—from a rooftop, a seagull
squawks and cries;
a woman moves through Grasp the Bird’s Tail—
someone on a stretcher
is wheeled past glass doors—a desert fivespot
rises in a wash—
and, pressing her tongue to the roof
of her mouth,
she focuses, in the near distance, on the music
of sycamore leaves.