Broken koan—the sound of one hand clapping
is not the rush of wing beats in the air
as the great horse flies over us, broken free
from the Medusa, art out of the horror.
The way wind moves is more in solitary moments
flapping the plastic bag caught in the branch
or causing trees to whisper all those names
that hide among the leaves like hidden tokens.
Thus the great image of the steed that passes
along the steppes as lightly as a cloud;
thus the connection to the passing thought
as light as moonbeams touching undergrowth.
We wait for names to come to us. They may not.
It makes no difference. All the names are here.

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About the Author

Allan Johnston earned his M.A. in Creative Writing and his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Davis. His poems have appeared in over sixty journals, including Poetry, Poetry East, Rattle, and Rhino. He has published three full-length poetry collections (Tasks of Survival, 1996; In a Window, 2018; Sable and Selected Poems, 2022) and three chapbooks (Northport, 2010; Departures, 2013; Contingencies, 2015).

A. Johnston
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