Why monday mornings do not resemble the shozui temple
where Basho wrote:  A monk sips morning tea, it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.

Here, the kettle boils over, the microwave chirps
impatiently over the computer's whir, and morning
cartoons murmur mindlessly.
Then the yellow bus comes, with its fanfare of brakes,
and my son races out, slamming the door, which stirs
the dreaming dog into action, a perfunctory chase
of the fat white cat,
whose body resembles the line of clouds floating here
in a long parade over a theatrical backdrop of blue scrim,
watered silk.  Now, the rare white tiger of Siberia crouches
in repose, and see, sailing up over the tulip trees,
it’s the entire state of Virginia, Roanoke to the Blue Ridge,
the Tidewaters, the Northern suburbs.
From far, far away, Monday is mewling in the corner,
something about the vacuuming,
something about the wash.
But this brilliant scroll keeps unwinding,
and how can I turn away?  Look, in the corner,
the calligrapher of trees is inscribing
poem after poem in all the languages of the Orient
that I do not speak, and I must translate them quickly,
one after the other, before the ink dissolves
and the light fails in the west.

                                                                                                 [Two Rivers]

                                                                                                [Barbara Crooker]

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