as if over the horizon driftwood from Africa would arrive
marble and immovable, but fragrant
while birch would dissolve just days from Sakhalin
and soft fir from across the Pacific bring only bad news,
splintering with salts and barnacles.
All the shapes we bring home we can lean together into a lean-to
for cooling off in some shade, nap in the curves
and cure the tough turns of the day.
It has been a hard year of bursting onto shores
and no one understands true art, especially our driftwood,
leaving us rather starkly high on our horses
like statues of dead dictators quaintly marching off into woods
kept growing around them. The city is encircled now, all of them sent off
on the lookout. I'm sure my quiet voice is part of the problem—
how else to explain outbursts ruining days
and with elders there, not up to fretting anymore,
just letting the world go in tides of its own
to survey with a usual doctoring of salt.
Nov. 2007, Hualian