from Lake M

 

Soul-ships mirage

maiden masts      flood     

larks      the valley

 

 

beacons shine
the horned masks
                         floating

benignant brides cast
                                   baleful
by the light of aging men

Sori steamed
on blackened glass
layer the inadvert cenobite

 

 

ships turn 

blue fur in the spectral light

animals devouring sailcloth

 

inspissate       —      waves

 

the rhythm of the white cloth

lain across corse faith

bunched wharves of breathings’ oil

 

 

“and how could the buildings
                           in silhouette     

“surrounded by a vermilion fence

“with sac       —      red stream

“tied to sakaki boughs                 “fail

 

 

white aspens



suspecting

a trace            /

    
trembling / airy ground
minutely, the impressionable earth

 

The marks you leave     
      inverted warts on mines

only those on the coast

           on tender arms

 

 

Everyone waited for the flowers to rise
through two thousand feet of snow    

towards the vibrating wires     

 

They waited for a cold century     

levied friend and nation
for the first inflorescence, but     
the flowers did not rise     

snow spread a tumulus     

the flowers curled the bottomland     
stirring the dark, redoubtable weight
of two thousand pacing feet

 

Wires cast thinly on the field     

slack, untapped and frozen

 

 

 

                                                            memorial
                                      cut to the oleum                 
                                   gentian in the mud     
                                                            singing insects climb their blades
                                           in the wake  bells, bridle
                     grounds closed for the night, serrated
                                                             stridulating dark
                              fire and observer work     

                                                             a lambent guest
                                                shawling  falls on lag gravel          
                                      tumescent sings                                
                                                           her answer, her answer, her answer is

 

 

from O Bon

 

the Inland Sea

 

long tress
      let down
    from the ship of war

 

    to the indomitable wave

 

    how many blooms per crest

 
    warming the katana hilt
tapers brush the surface of the water

    the helm by the hair

 

 
 
half faces
 
    leather and iron

 
    scalp

      shut
    in the vault
the crests

    crimson


Brandon Shimoda was born on the west coast and raised on the east coast. He is the author of Lake M, One (Corollary Press, 2007), as well as writings appearing in Practice: New Writing + Art, Xantippe, Aufgabe, Verse, Pilot Poetry, and elsewhere. He teaches at the University of Montana and curates the New Lakes reading and performance series, in Missoula, where he currently lives.