Shadow Play

Is the oasis still pure and cool 
after the wing of a dove or 
a falcon's shadow crosses it? 

Raptors have been known to dive 
for prey from over two hundred 
miles away. According to Fermat's 

principle, the path taken by light
between two points is the shortest
distance. In the shadow-theatre, 

sticks and bones make puppets come
to life behind a cotton sheet. It's
light, too, that flays their costumes 

of painted leather; they tremble 
from manipulation, in joy or rage 
or sorrow. Here is the girl 

that sits by a tree or a wall, waiting 
for a lion or her lover, her dark 
blue skirt arranged like a spell 

around her. And here is a hunter 
whose arrow pulls back before it flies 
into its target. A chorus delivers 

lines of foreknowledge. The gamelans 
shimmer all together; after they cease, 
the air is a lake of a hundred echoes.  

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