Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Arthur Sze


The myriad unfolds from a progression of strokes--
one, ice, corpse, hair, jade, tiger.

Unlocking a gate along a barbed wire fence, 
I notice beer cans and branches in the acequia.

There are no white pear blossoms by the gate, 
no red poppies blooming in the yard,

no lepiota naucina clustered by the walk, 
but--bean, gold--there's the intricacy of a moment

when--wind, three-legged incense caldron--
I begin to walk through a field with cow pies

toward the Pojoaque River, sense deer, yellow, rat.
I step through water, go up the arroyo, find

a single magpie feather. This is a time 
when--blood in my piss, ache in my nose and teeth--

I sense tortoise, flute where there is no sound, 
wake to human bones carved and strung into a loose apron.

© 1998