Poet of the Month: Marsha
Inscriptions for Chinese Paintings
I, Stick, paint this in the style of my master, Branch, but cannot attain the iridescence of his bark in darkness.
11th day of the 5th moon, which returns and returns, but not to me.
This splinter rests among begonia leaves as if it were a flower. Fingers know the wisdom of brushing nothing away.
Inscribed in the 5th moon by a mind without fingers.
Here is a filament of spider-spit knitted with dust, smiled upon by light. My friend, turned to ash, was dispersed by a gust. A cinder of his lung lodged in my throat.
12th day of the 5th moon, which sputters through me like a breath, deepening.
Leaves green the celery woods of spring: brushes, and their lines lengthening in the breeze.
19th day of a moon as smooth as the rim of a robin’s nest from which all have fallen.
When I moved the black pine into the picture, its roots remained behind. Now it reaches out to help me across the river. Shall I go?
Inscribed between the 6th and 7th branches, whose shadows calibrate the moon.
Ice cleaved this rock last winter. Did it suffer? I inspect its faces, which squint in the sun at the minerals of me.
21st day of a moon that cleaves to the sea.
Is the eye less surprised by five deer than by six? Here is where they arced across the road.
Inscribed as time attends with the force of hooves landing.
The lake is incessant small peaks, repeats, antique, release, increase, repeats, upbeats, each crease, each pleat replete, sun heat, retreat, blue teats, conceits, drop leaps in deep. Do you think it is also wet?
Inscribed this 23rd day of the 5th moon as I blow on ink to cool it.
I prove to you this butterfly, leashing it with one hair from my brush. I hold on, tethered to the page, can go no further in, come no further out.
Defined, this 24th day of the crysalid moon.
From The Illustrated Edge, Biblioasis, 2011; first published in PN Review