Three Improvisations


The clouds are sheets of cotton pulled thin between our fingers.

Translation: At the lake, villagers are harvesting
shoals of tiny fish, their bodies an inch long, the dark
pupils of their eyes no bigger than pinpricks.
The water ripples like oil.


You lean forward and say, Don’t move. There is an animal in the tree above you.

Translation: The nuns in the school I attended
made us walk, single file, up and down the narrow
wooden staircases: Only on the balls
of your feet, girls
, they commanded.
Lightness is all.


Where can I go to feel sand under my feet, watch the rush of water tint them sable?

Translation: The Japanese irises wear thin
wrappers of color; they’ve had too much heat
and now they’re shriveling in the evening air.
A cricket twangs its strings in the shadows,
oblivious to the deep vermilion pouring over
the harbor. Not me— I want to drink it up.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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