by Jean-Mark Sens
On the other side of the fence
the neighbor wills his way at the force of a weedwacker
his shadow appearing and disappearing between the slats.
He stops, the wind picks up a cool rest,
a whiff of cut grass and the engine resumes its grinding
his slow sway having replaced the romantic movements of an ancient reaper,
our low land lad spitting and humming by himself.
At the kitchen table I am on the second line of a short Du Fu poem
Meipi Lake and lovers of nature.
How soon again will start the wind section of the neighbor’s back yard orchestra,
the mad bassoon of a wind blower
the long exhalations raising clouds and whirlwind dust?
Inside between pauses his wife sustains an underlying hum
in the reversed current of a vacuum cleaner
whizzing out high octaves picking up glitters, dust, broken beads, spangles
coins in the carpet.
Their world has reached the exactness of a ballet, inside and outside, a yin and yang,
old Fu may have comprehended
“joy and sadness take turns
in a dance we don’t control.”