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.
Burglars enter an apartment and ransack drawers;
finding neither gold nor cash, they flee,
leaving the laundry and bathroom lights on—
they have fled themselves. I catch the dipping
pitch of a motorcycle, iceberg hues in clouds;
the gravel courtyard's a midnight garden,
as in Japan, raked to resemble ocean waves
in moonshine, whirlpool eddies, circular ripples—
and nothing is quite what it appears to be.
When I unlatch the screen door, a snake
slides under the weathered decking; I spot
the jagged hole edged with glass where a burglar
reached through the window, but no one
marks the poplars darker with thunder and rain.
In moonlight I watch the whirlpool hues
of clouds drift over our courtyard, adobe walls,
and gate, and, though there is no loon,
a loon calls out over the yard, over the water.