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.
Arthur Sze is the author of eleven books of poetry, including The Glass Constellation (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). 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