The essence of colour

My blue silk sheet hung
wet on the line after washing,
folded in half and stiff with
crinkles. As the wind blew

it shivered, swung back
and forth as if pinned on
a hinge. Folds began smoothing
out and rippled in the breeze,

threw lighter shadows with each pulse.
Sensuous currents surged across
its elusive face, uncreased
every wrinkle. With each snap

that rolled down to where it
brushed the ground, it seemed like
the blue plumage of a strange creature
which belonged neither to water

nor to air. Its only real element
an elusiveness, because it dripped
a shadow at its own feet and then
took it away just as mysteriously

as the sheet became dry.

Other poems by Shen

Knowing your place

The one that got away