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.
Arthur Sze - 1950-
Looking Back on the Muckleshoot Reservation from Galisteo Street, Santa Fe
The bow of a Muckleshoot canoe, blessed with eagle feather and sprig of yellow cedar, is launched into a bay. A girl watches her mother fry venison slabs in a skillet— drops of blood sizzle, evaporate. Because a neighbor feeds them, they eat wordlessly; the silence breaks when she occasionally gags, reaches into her throat, pulls out hair. Gone is the father, riled, arguing with his boss, who drove to the shooting range after work; gone, the accountant who embezzled funds, displayed a pickup and proclaimed a winning flush at the casino. You donate chicken soup and clothes but never learn if they arrive at the south end of the city. Your small acts are sandpiper tracks in wet sand. Newspapers, plastic containers, beer bottles fill bins along the sloping one-way street.