• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 11
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According to Zhuangzi

On a palm leaf at the moment of the setting sun
a solitary common buckeye butterfly
opens the slim volume of her spectacular wings
to see on facing pages

the three familiar roundels like eyes
and reads there she might be of all things a leopard
sunk in her dreams of possessing wings
in reality a leopard she licks every rosette

on her own pelt nudging the black and tan blooms
to believe in their dreams of black
and tawny clouds patching a midnight sky
through which the wolf moon of January shines

more like a bursting dam suddenly that really is
no mere dream of the bank of virga cloud
transfixed by its reflection in the sea below
the billowing upper storeys and streaky stingers

hanging down and no library to disprove
this is not the stirring of a shoal of billowing jellyfish
each pair of nervous systems
in sleepy suspension beginning to ask if this

in truth is not the line of speech bubbles
uttered by a minke whale containing her whistles
and bells her downsweeps her clicks and grunts
winding up to her breeching the moonlit waves


According to Zhuangzi

then diving the solitary whale in her ocean
not altogether sure she is not a tiny twinkling star
in descent scoring the oceanic blue sky
is not one of those eyes that burn and glimmer

on the wings of a leopard-spotted butterfly.