by Robert Wrigley

I saw two legs in the whirlpool
dancing deep.
-Carol Ann Duffy

A sleepy one, tall man-deep
and slow as the first broad
turn of the last water in a tub,

but still, a fallen yellow leaf of the aspen
has entered its dawdling vortex
and now, after three circumnavigations

ever smaller and more swift,
some catch of the current sucks the leaf’s stem
straight down, and twice it pirouettes

counter-clockwise and upright, flashing
its matte and shiny sides before
it’s pulled under, still visible but sinking

ever dimmer into the deep enough depths,
but never disappearing, only winking
near the bottom, slowly, like a sleeper, breathing.


Robert Wrigley has published ten books of poems, most recently Anatomy of Melancholy & Other Poems (Penguin, 2013), and The Church of Omnivorous Light: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2013), in the UK. He teaches at the University of Idaho.