Pricilla Atkins

Two Crickets

after a painting by Zeshin

Inside the fine-ribbed lacquer cage

the shadow of a cricket climbs the bias

of the pale rear bars

where vague stalks float in blurred arcs

until the colorful heads

of balloon flowers, pampas grass,

ominaeshi’s curly blond wigs,

pop up over the top like puppets.

Off to the side, a pewter-blue cricket pauses

on a leaf of mustard-colored grass,

its two glorious, long antennae

swimming upwards in a wavy V,

while in feathery parallel

an almost invisible hind leg

is kicked up and held

as if the insect were mesmerized

by a remote grace within,

the subtle, ghostly unfolding

of paper-thin wings.