Today I pass the time reading
A favorite haiku,
Saying the few words over and over.
It feels like eating
The same small, perfect grape
Again and again.
I walk through the house reciting it
And leave its letters falling
Through the air of every room.
I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.
I listen to myself saying it,
Then I say it without listening,
Then I hear it without saying it.
And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
And whisper it into each of his long white ears.
It’s the one about the one-ton temple bell
With the moth sleeping on its surface,
And every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
Pressure of the moth
On the surface of the iron bell.
When I say it at the window,
The bell is the world
And I am the moth resting there.
When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
And the moth is life with its papery wings.
And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
You are the bell,
And I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,
And the moth has flown
From its line
And moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.