By Peter Krumbach

Featured art: Kano Sanraku (1559-1635)

I waited for it in the fork
of a cherry tree. On the LL
train. Made bed for it in my 8th
Street room. I left gaps in sentences
where it could land. Dug holes, smoked
ham, lost bets and innocence, granted
exculpation long before it sinned.
To track its scent, I stripped
and whorled, committed perfidy,
burned effigies and caramelized
figs. I rubbed nougat with licorice
and seven sprigs of dill. I renamed
myself after it, just to see

how I rang. Morning, midnight,
noon and dusk, I texted,
sexted, called and faxed it.
For years and years, I slept unkept,
sculpting pleas and letters
of regret. And then one day
it was in my palm. Smooth
as a peanut, smelling of pine.
Dzweep, said a jay from the elm
above my head, then bolt-like
he dove and snatched it away.
Beautiful hard-eyed thief, leaving
nothing but an ampersand.
My core cracked like a deerstruck windshield. It splintered
into little hearts shuffled through
a deck. So I wrote this
in red.

Peter Krumbach was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia. His most recent work has been or is about to be published in Beloit Poetry Journal, Bitter Oleander, jubilat, Massachusetts Review and Willow Springs. He lives in California.

Originally published in NOR 28

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