The Awes
Gregory Lawless

Are tiny birds with little black raincoats
and drill-bit eyes and great patience

whose ideogram-shaped feet
which mean risible
& what-was-that? are perfect
for slapping fish
out of the river.

Their mouths are always open
through their silent-movie flight

over marshlands and crags.

Li Po called them the dilations
which means the space between chess pieces
according to Li Po.

Legend has it, he only painted them
on horse back at night, his eyes closed.

And his paintings are widely considered
to be the worst of the ancient world.