Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
In most self-portraits it is the face that dominates:
Cezanne is a pair of eyes swimming in brushstrokes,
Van Gogh stares out of a halo of swirling darkness,
Rembrant looks relieved as if he were taking a breather
In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.
I have never been fishing on the Susquehanna
or on any river for that matter
to be perfectly honest.
Tonight the moon is a cracker,
with a bite out of it
floating in the night,
And I start wondering how they came to be blind.
If it was congenital, they could be brothers and sister,
and I think of the poor mother
brooding over her sightless young triplets.