Morning on the train.
In the seat across from me
a woman reads a book.
Waterfalls of Chinese script
descend the page;
a willow stutters into bloom.
The text might tell of anything—
how to build a house, prepare a feast.
It might be a novel, a history.
Detached from meaning,
the words appear more artful
for their position on the page,
jade filigree in vertical columns,
each word paralleling the others,
in narrow rows like swimmers,
men climbing hand over hand
down to the bottom of each page.
In contrast, our yeoman English letters,
marching in their muddy boots,
could be carved from wood,
stout tools, not ornaments.
Our script adopts the farmer’s
practical pattern, plowing
each row straight, until
an orchard of print
stands ready for harvest.
Robbi Nester is the author of three books of poems: a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), and two collections--A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) and Other-Wise (Kelsay, 2017). She has also edited two anthologies: The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-anthology, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees--celebrating the photography of Beth Moon (accessible at http://poemeleon.org/over-the-moon-birds-beasts-and).