On Reading Diane Ackerman

by Naomi Beth Wakan

I read on, compelled

by her metaphors and similes,

until, finding five in one sentence,

I call aloud “Enough!”

and lay the book down.

I lie and wonder why

she continually

says “this” is like “that”

and why she doesn’t say

how “this” is like “this.”

Bashō could show her how.

For writing of a “black crow”

on a “bare branch” at “sunset,”

he doesn’t mention “black witches”

or “gnarled limbs of unfortunates”

or “dark curtains descending” once.

And yet his “crow,” his “bare branch,”

his “sunset” are enough to tell me

all I need to know about

time passing, sadness, austerity

and the ways of the world

in autumn.

From Sex After 70, Toronto: Bevalia Press, 2010, page 26.