Landscape at Dusk, with Disappearing Crane

And in the movie or in the book, when
the crane that was quietly wading
at the edge of the river suddenly lifts

into the evening sky until nothing is left
of its body save for a silver-white curl
thinner than the edge of a rose petal,

the attentive reader knows that this
is a trope, both shorthand and preparation
for what happens in the next scene or chapter:

the one where the family patriarch, gone
into the meadow to retrieve a ball tossed too
far by his grandson, crumples to the ground

in the fringed shadow of tall grasses;
or the one where the guests come across
their friend who never returned to join them

for after-dinner drinks, slumped in the garden
in a wicker chair— And the other tropes that
follow: dusk reflecting off a raindrop’s filmy

surface, everything caught in trembling,
minute accuracy: prismed lights from a nearby
window, orange haze against deepening

blue, white gauze of a scarf or handkerchief
the woman brings to her mouth or her cheek
to stifle a cry or staunch a sob— And over

and underneath it all, the water’s rhythms,
steady and unchanging; papery hulls of leaves
and blossoms, floating away on the current.


In response to small stone (96).

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