In paintings and prints, artists honor the most esteemed Japanese poets
of the 7th through 11th centuries.
They might be kites, the way
they hover there, mid-air
on their scrolls and screens,
as if some steady endless wind
has pinned them to these lofty spots
where, kneeling in their sprawls
of black and patterned silk,
they’re sentenced to eternity,
their verses inked beside them
like verdicts of their own devising.