In front of the black Chinese screen
with bird scene – white crane stands in blue
water, its dark beak open, ready to pluck
a fish. Beside the crane, a bare cherry
tree; at the roots or afloat on the water
circling crane legs, the fallen blossom -
she reclines upon the aquamarine
couch I always moved when she vacuumed.
Her neck, the underside of a white
Calla Lilly, exposed as if offered
in brutish irony to my open lips -
though this fish has escaped
into places my mouth cannot reach.
A bluish vein moves to dispose
the perfect symmetry
of that neck as an insect works
on the parting words she prepares.
I hear a clack of beak, a ruffle
of feathers, a distant flap
of flight – there are places
I will never venture.
Her hand waves, languid as death.
Her hooded eyes, distant as a crane,
stare into depths - my hand
rubs my forearm, checks for scales.
Closing the wooden door
I spent a weekend stripping
and polishing with beeswax, I hear
her coffee voice utter a gentle reminder
to place her key in the green letter box
after I pass beyond the click of her gate.