Ours not the fruit on the tree,
that long shimmer in the branches; waxed,
distrustful surface reflecting what else
might be known about the universe.
A man whips a striped tapis into a flag
between his hands, and dances with it.
In one story either a chicken
or a woman come into the yard
and follow him into the world. In one
story the man and the woman step
out of the bamboo’s heart.
They’ve heard the thunder made
by the bird as it breaks through
the border. If this is the beginning,
how does night translate? It’s not as if
all that came before can just be tucked
into an envelope and buried under
the mattress or dropped from the edge
of a cliff into the sea. That is,
I’m sure there is an edge, but that
can only mean there is also
a flatness preceding that. I’m sure
I heard the bird say gift. Or rift.

the next

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