Exiled among the black spruce,
this stack of antique plates forms
a half-rhyme of hue and shape
with the autumn sky and the circuit
of the moon. Fragile and luminous,
in all other aspects they rest distinct
within the orbit of their range
that rings the mountain’s base.
These vignettes of cobalt show
three figures robed, pagodas,
and two birds aspectant,
suspended in a crazed web of worn
glazing so unlike the pairs of mated jays
that decorate these darkened boughs;
and the willows here are of a strain
that have no weeping habit.
Shelved upon this high meadow,
they sit within their lacquered cabinet,
each plate an island in a sea
of cold shadow, patens both
abandoned and abiding
in a hard-hewn tabernacle,
brought with care to this elevation,
for some unknown communion.
Kevin Casey is the author of And Waking… (Bottom Dog Press, 2016), and American Lotus (Glass Lyre Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com.