Elegy to a Shrine
Sannō torii stands
like a single crane caught
in late morning,
reflected on the water—
one leg firm in good fortune,
the other holding longevity
like the smooth edge of an obi
folded under against its soft feathered belly.
In the last breath of summer
and the ascending light of fall,
the sun reposes midpath,
suspended in its journey.
Like steam rising over pots of miso and rice,
the gravity of early shadow cuts scattered shapes
from the camphor-scented leaves
still crisp in the throat.
The sky tangles itself in something sacred,
an orb paused on the warpath
before plummeting from the high plain of heaven.
In these moments of perfect grace—
deep knee bends
and bicycle tires on some spiritual pavement
—the great bird soars like a pillar
as if over an Earth not yet hot to the touch.
Something like a god.
Something like a reed cut at the root.
And this day sinks into silence,
into the heavy camphor in the heat that is not air,
into so many accumulations of ringing bells:
the beating of wings,
the burning paper in broad autumn light,
a punctuated morning.
*previously published in The Day After/Peace Provocation Witness, Art Access/Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons