Slanting light casts onto a stucco wall
by Arthur Sze
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.