A mural of a massive wave
painted on a concrete wall
can’t provoke a disaster,
can it? Fenced off so no one
can smut it with graffiti,
this careful reproduction
of Hokusai’s Under a Wave
Off Kanagawa convinces
that such prehensile vigor
could claw the flesh from the bone
and leave the stony planet naked.
Hokusai liked to trigger fear
in admirers of his sentient forms.
His woodblocks invoke forces
shaped by natural enmity
to mock human fragility
and make us feel small. Painting
this image on a wall overstates
the case, but we’re all believers,
and the weight of that cresting wave
overwhelms the usual doubts.
William Doreski’s most recent book is A Black River, A Dark Fall (2018). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals. He lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, USA.