for Diana Bridge
At the slow-gaited end of summer’s day,
dragonflies dart as precisely as needles
tatting the ornate patterns of lace-charts.
A kingfisher snatches a dragonfly midair—
holds it in its bill like an ampoule
of iridescent magenta ink. Slowly
an egret lifts—smoke from a clutch
of joss sticks. Koi sip at the surface, their lips
like the rubber rings of party balloons.
Another egret rises, legs trailing under
it long and thin as toasting forks.
A damselfly in rapid flight, a scholiast’s pen
annotating in margins, stops, touches
down on a lotus. Then a heron
with the calm posture of a Shinto priest
about to cleanse a shrine with prayer
steps suddenly towards an ibis
swallowing what its caught
from leaf pulp and bottom slime. I hear
the polyphonic tinkling of water, a tizwas
of insects soft-pedalling above white stones.