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.
Copyright © by Arthur Sze. Used with the permission of the author.
Born in New York City in 1950, Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including Compass Rose (Copper Canyon Press, 2014). He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2012 to 2017.
Date Published: 2015-04-16
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/midnight-loon