Infected w/COVID I toss fresh food
to the monitor lizards below;
they run in jagged circles below the
balcony, positioning themselves
against each other for the takeaway.
At night I hear the clacking of crabs
gathering what the lizards have left.
In the morning, I see black bush hens
pecking up the remains.
Having no appetite, the constant taste
of mold in my mouth,
I drink hot coffee w/ sugar and salt,
spit venom at the bathroom mirror,
read novels, get lost in five paintings:
three tropic landscapes;
one of a hawks bill turtle swimming
on the bathroom wall; and one of three
tan-white clown fish going round and round
their wild anemone. But the best friend
I have is the wooden sculpture
of the Solomon Shaman above the door.
After four days of seclusion, I snorkel
on a nearby reef for an hour
while the other guests are out scuba diving.
I see a giant clam, four feet long
under a dock, maybe 90, surviving, thriving!
Two bronze sharks gaze up at me
from the depths; myriads of little neon fish
flash in the shallows like little stars.
Against a current I fin out to the island's wall
and thru deep clear water glimpse the end:
after 7 days of seclusion
I would return to civilization a changed man.
Autumn in Oirase Gorge
Leopard skin trees bend over rocks
and drink from the stream.
Leaves, bright orange, bright red—
like sunset over Japan's Sea—
like pumpkins, like lanterns or
persimmons hanging on trees.
Sound of water like the wind
coming down like rain,
like ice, like sleet or even snow.
We walk among the yellow leaves
as if wandering in gold,
the smell of ferment tantalizing
the nose; somewhere on the other
shore of Lake Towado a fire,
smoked fish, sake.
A ferry has just departed the dock
and all of the people on board
get ready for the cruise to a spot
where smoke meets water:
a vortex, a time drop, a spout just
outside of one's sense of the known
where the summer gorge ends,
and the autumn stream flows.
D.H. Jenkins' plays have been staged in California, Arizona, Australia, and Japan. His poems have appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician, The Tiger Moth Review, and The Global South. He now lives in New Zealand and enjoys hiking in the Southern Alps as well as scuba diving and snorkeling in the Pacific Islands.