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The Floating Bridge

Beyond the floating bridge another world awaits. There the master
dances for the concubine. The fly watches the monk buzz around
the room. The emperor settles into the straw to sleep. I travel
there often. But I cannot honestly say I know the way. The bridge
appears at unlikely times . . . When I'm walking down the street.
When I'm eating breakfast with a child. Once in the middle of
a funeral I joined hands with the deceased and walked across.
Sometimes the bridge is small and inconspicuous. Like a poem.
Or the flight of a bird. Often I don’t realize I'm on it until I get
to the other side. Once I made the mistake of closing my eyes
halfway across and letting my lover spin me around. Now I've lost
track of which side I’m standing on.

Ode to My Socks

Maru Mori brought me
a pair
of socks
which she knitted herself
with her sheepherder’s hands,
two socks as soft
as rabbits.
I slipped my feet
into them
as though into
two
cases
knitted
with threads of
twilight
and goatskin.
Violent socks,
my feet were
two fish made
of wool,
two long sharks
sea-blue, shot
through
by one golden thread,
two immense blackbirds,
two cannons:
my feet
were honored
in this way
by
these
heavenly
socks.
They were
so handsome
for the first time
my feet seemed to me
unacceptable
like two decrepit
firemen, firemen
unworthy
of that woven
fire,
of those glowing
socks.

Nevertheless
I resisted
the sharp temptation
to save them somewhere
as schoolboys
keep
fireflies,
as learned men
collect
sacred texts,
I resisted
the mad impulse
to put them
into a golden
cage
and each day give them
birdseed
and pieces of pink melon.
Like explorers
in the jungle who hand
over the very rare
green deer
to the spit
and eat it
with remorse,
I stretched out
my feet
and pulled on
the magnificent
socks
and then my shoes.

The moral
of my ode is this:
beauty is twice
beauty
and what is good is doubly
good
when it is a matter of two socks
made of wool
in winter.