Jane Hirshfield (February 24, 1953 -)
The glass doorknobs turn no differently.
But every December
I polish them with vinegar water and cotton.
Another year ends.
This one, I ate Kyoto pickles
and touched, in Xi’an, a stone turtle’s face,
cold as stone, as turtle.
I could not read the fortune carved into its shell
or hear what it had raised its head
to listen for, such a long time.
Around it, the madness of empires continued,
an unbitted horse that runs for a thousand miles
Around us, the madness of empires continues.
How happy we are,
how unhappy we are, doesn’t matter.
The stone turtle listens. The famished horse runs.
Turning doorknobs, one year enters another.