Eric Ekstrand

A

Appleblossom

Bashō, with your grass pillow, what underground sounds come into your dreams?
Do blue-horned beetles scratch against the starless night sky that lines your head
with the starless night skies of their own domed backs? Do centipedes trickle through?
Do worms burrow with their snouts, with their bodies that are entirely snouts?
Snoozer, I can only ask you this because now you are dead asleep:
Do I ever appear as a nightcrawler whispering in your ear?
Are the words, “I love you,” as soft as the cough of a good luck cricket?

Appleblossom

Clamber out of the morning river with water beads like fish eggs clung
to your pubis the calluses on your buttocks from sitting, writing
on flat rocks, your goose-pimpled thighs — the bumpy tongues of two dogs licking
each other — and river-slather and slather at the edge of my mouth.

You are smiling, straining out your hair, flicking your hands, and then
see me watching you with the cloth and pots I was taking to wash.
Before I have time to be embarrassed, the smile lifts into your eyes.

Appleblossom

When History turns soldiers into battles, you turn them into grass.
Bashō, Sweet, is it honorable? But for these men who died with grunts
and clangs in their ears, for their horses with snapped legs, I haven’ t got
the art to make them into anything. I fold the grass in the shape
of a man, very literal, very primitive and leave it on
the field and say, “Forgive me valorous men for my ineptitude.”
Just then, the little man falls down in the wind and — huh! — there is art.